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2023 NFL mock draft: Indianapolis Colts trade up to No. 1, Raiders move up for QB

Who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft? The scouting combine and the pre-draft process will help tell us a lot about how teams view this year’s draft class. For now, we’re diving into our 2023 NFL mock draft with an early forecast for top prospects before rumors heat up.

The 2023 NFL Combine will certainly have a huge influence on how the entire draft unfolds. There are countless instances of players elevating their draft stock thanks to NFL Combine records or costing themselves millions of dollars with a bad performance in Indianapolis.

As part of our offseason series with our 2023 NFL Draft projections, trades are involved with a number of teams moving up and down the board. With the help of the Pro Football Focus draft simulator, we can have an educated exercise for how things could unfold on draft night.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft order

Let’s slide into our latest 2023 NFL mock draft, projecting picks 1-31 with trades before the NFL Combine shakes things up.

2023 NFL mock draft: Quarterback trade-ups bring intrigue

1. Indianapolis Colts*: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

NCAA Football: Austin Peay at Alabama
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
  • TRADE: Indianapolis Colts trade 4th, 35th and 106th picks along with 2024 1st and 2nd to Chicago Bears for 1st and 150th overall picks

When the owner of a team goes out of his way to state his team wants a young quarterback, that provides all the information needed. Bryce Young is the most pro-ready quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft with his frame the only knock on his scouting report. Jim Irsay doesn’t seem worried about Young’s size, making it worthwhile for the Indianapolis Colts to move up for him. – MJ

Related: 2023 NFL Draft rumors

2. Houston Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Syndication: USA TODAY
Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

There’s a legitimate chance C.J. Stroud is in the conversation for the No. 1 pick after the NFL Combine. Size, arm strength, resume and intangibles are among the checkmarks on Stroud’s profile and he can be a franchise quarterback immediately. For a team with as many holes as the Houston Texans have, it might make more sense to stay put at No. 2 and take whichever quarterback falls into their lap. – MJ

Related: 2023 NFL Draft QB rankings

3. Las Vegas Raiders*: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Syndication: The Tennessean
George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • TRADE: Las Vegas Raiders trade 7th, 38th, 143rd overall picks and 2024 2nd and 3rd to Arizona Cardinals for 3rd and 180th overall selections

This would be an aggressive move by the Las Vegas Raiders, but there’s a viable plan behind it. Josh McDaniels can convince Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett to be the bridge quarterback in 2023. Meanwhile, Anthony Richardson gets a full year of development with NFL coaching. If McDaniels can get the most out of him, Richardson will be the best player from the 2023 NFL Draft when we look back on it in five years. – MJ

Related: Las Vegas Raiders mock draft

4. Chicago Bears: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Texas Christian at Georgia
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • TRADE: Chicago Bears acquire 4th, 35th and 106th picks along with 2024 1st and 2nd from Indianapolis Colts for 1st and 150th picks

Our latest 2023 NFL mock draft unfolds perfectly for the Chicago Bears. After trading down to No. 4 overall, Chicago still gets its choice of the best defensive players thanks to quarterbacks flying off the board. Jalen Carter is the top prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft and he offers an All-Pro ceiling at defensive tackle. – MJ

5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): Will Anderson Jr, EDGE, Alabama

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of ideal outcomes for teams, this is a dream scenario for the Seattle Seahawks. Will Anderson Jr. was the most dominant pass rusher in college football over the last two seasons. He racked up 207 pressures in three seasons at Alabama (PFF). Anderson solves the Seahawks’ pass-rushing issues and his presence would make life even easier for a great cornerback tandem. – MJ

Related: Seattle Seahawks mock draft 2023

6. Detroit Lions: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Syndication: Detroit Free Press

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah reported there is early buzz Tyree Wilson could be the best pass rusher in the draft. He’s an athletic marvel and unlike Travon Walker, Wilson backed it up with outstanding production in his final college season. Working opposite Aidan Hutchinson, this could turn into one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL. – MJ

Related: Detroit Lions mock draft 2023

7. Arizona Cardinals*: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

NCAA Football: Illinois at Minnesota
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
  • TRADE: Arizona Cardinals receive 7th, 38th, 143rd overall picks and 2024 2nd and 3rd from Las Vegas Raiders for 3rd and 180th picks

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon has a lot of work to do with this defense. Trading down should be the first priority, acquiring draft capital to fill out a depleted roster. With the top edge rushers off the board, one of the worst secondaries in the NFL lands a shutdown cornerback who can take the Darius Slay role in Gannon’s defense. – MJ

Related: NFL trade rumors

8. Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

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The Atlanta Falcons’ defense combined for just 39 sacks and 193 pressures over the last two years. Putting that into perspective, five NFL teams had 40-plus sacks and 160-plus pressures last season alone. Myles Murphy isn’t the most refined pass rusher in the class, but he can be a three-down player with freak athleticism that pushes his ceiling even higher. – MJ

Related: NFL offense rankings

9. Carolina Panthers: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Florida
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers exercise patience once again in our 2023 NFL mock draft and it pays off. Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is far less pro-ready than Young and Stroud, with warts in his game that make starting him in 2023 a huge gamble. However, he could be the ideal development pick to work with Frank Reich and Josh McCown, while a veteran like Derek Carr or Garoppolo starts in 2023. – MJ

Related: 2023 NFL Combine Guide

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles love tall, physical cornerbacks who are comfortable in man coverage and Christian Gonzalez fits the mold. While he could function as a No. 1 cornerback in his rookie season, Philadelphia allows Gonzalez to start opposite Slay and match up against No. 2 receivers. It’s arguably the perfect fit for both sides. – MJ

2023 NFL mock draft: Skill players, weapons fly off board

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

The Tennessee Titans must rebuild their offense and the best way to take the first step, when a quarterback isn’t available, is by adding a left tackle. Taylor Lewan is gone, so the Titans replace him with a standout in pass protection, who will address a weakness that hurt Tennessee for years. Plus, Johnson is a step toward this team getting younger. – MJ

12. Houston Texans (via CLE): Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

After landing their franchise quarterback, Houston pairs him with one of his favorite receivers. Rookie passers love the security of a slot receiver and Jaxon Smith-Njigba could thrive in that role next season. The established rapport with Stroud is just another benefit of drafting both Ohio State stars in Round 1. – MJ

Related: Prospects with most to prove at NFL Combine

13. Green Bay Packers*: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

  • TRADE: Green Bay Packers trade Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets for 13th overall pick, conditional 2025 third-round pick

It feels increasingly possible that an Aaron Rodgers trade happens this offseason and the New York Jets seem like the only viable option. In this deal, the Green Bay Packers snag the best tight end in the 2023 NFL Draft. Michael Mayer would be the perfect complementary piece to Matt LaFleur’s offense and it’s not hard to argue that he is a top-10 overall prospect. – MJ

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

Once a position of strength, the New England Patriots offensive line now stands out as one of their biggest needs entering the NFL Draft. While Peter Skoronski does have shorter arms than the prototypical offensive tackle, he is a standout in pass protection. With the plans Bill O’Brien has for this offense, that’s needed at left tackle. – MJ

Related: 2023 NFL salary cap tracker

15. Green Bay Packers: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Rashan Gary is recovering from a torn ACL and Preston Smith might be entering his last year with the team. Great defenses have three standout pass rushers, so Lukas Van Ness fills a clear need. Following a breakout season at Iowa, Van Ness’ versatility and strength as an edge defender makes him a compelling fit for Green Bay. – MJ

Related: Highest-paid NFL players 2023

16. Washington Commanders: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

If the Washington Commanders’ offense is going to work with Sam Howell, they need a star at running back. Quite simply, Brian Robinson Jr (3.9 ypc) and Antonio Gibson aren’t anything close to that. Bijan Robinson is a three-down weapon that many in the NFL view as an elite talent. Eric Bieniemy can easily build his offense around Robinson. – MJ

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones, T, Georgia

As long as Mike Tomlin is in town leading the defense, we have confidence his side of the ball won’t fall flat. Offensively? We have more questions. Building in the trenches could be the difference between Kenny Pickett and Najee Harris flopping in the NFL or becoming true stars. Jones has a punishing strike that can stop pass rushers in their tracks or move people out of the way in a hurry. – ABR

18. Detroit Lions: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Finishing with the fifth-best offense but the fifth-worst defense, the Lions’ needs are obvious heading into the draft. Adding Tyree Wilson should make life easier on the secondary, but this is a unit that needs more playmakers. That’s where we like Branch to make an immediate impact, utilizing his advanced football IQ to hold it down in the slot while also being able to step up and make stops in the run game. – ABR

Related: NFL QB Rankings: Discover our top 20 NFL quarterback rankings

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

While the Buccaneers got solid production out of their starting cornerback tandem in 2022, now Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are set for free agency. Porter Jr. could be an immediate difference-maker who brings his physical style of play to Tampa Bay. After leading all Power Five cornerbacks with an incredible 40% forced incompletion rate in college, we see no reason why he can’t continue terrorizing opponents at the next level. – ABR

20. Seattle Seahawks: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

After finishing with the fifth-lowest hurry rate among NFL teams in 2022, the Seahawks will likely be looking to add several pass-rushers this offseason. We added one earlier, with Will Anderson, but pressure can come from all angles. If coach Carroll can find a way for Kancey, who had 17 sacks the past two seasons, to become a menace along the interior, Seattle’s secondary should take another leap. – ABR

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

The Chargers are already in an enviable position in comparison to several other franchises. They have their franchise QB and a formidable group of weapons to complement Justin Herbert. But we can’t help but drool over the idea of adding a true game-breaking weapon alongside Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. At 6-foot-4, with 4.4, if not better speed, Johnston fits that mold. – ABR

Related: Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2023 winner

22. Baltimore Ravens: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Depending on Lamar Jackson‘s situation, this pick could go in a number of directions. But we’ll stick with selecting a cornerback for now, addressing a pass defense that allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game in 2022. Banks has been soaring up draft boards thanks to a true CB1 profile that has him listed at 6-foot-2. But he’s not just physically built. He also moves laterally quite well, leading some to think he has All-Pro potential.– ABR

23. Minnesota Vikings: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

Another team that is facing some tough salary cap decisions this offseason, the Vikings must find a way to navigate their tight budget while adding talent to the defense. If so, having a player like Bresee slip could be a gift on draft day. While Bresee has the versatility to line up anywhere on the line, playing along the interior is probably best. At his best, Bresee can be a pressure-generating machine, but he needs to become more consistent. – ABR

Related: Super Bowl odds: Every team’s championship futures for 2023 NFL season

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

The Jaguars invested heavily in their front seven during last season’s draft. How about getting the secondary some help? Antonio Johnson is a monster at 6-foot-3, and he has a great nose for football. Johnson did his best work covering the slot in college, but he also has the ability to come up and make plays in the backfield behind the line of scrimmage, both areas the Jaguars could improve in. – ABR

Related: 5 young NFL QBs destined to win the Super Bowl

25. New York Giants: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

I stand by my belief that the Giants need to continue providing Daniel Jones with weapons so we can see what he’s fully capable of. Not only did they lack playmaking receivers, the G-Men had the sixth-most dropped passes in 2022. By that standard, Addison and his two dropped passes in 2022 look pretty elite. – ABR

26. Dallas Cowboys: O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida

When the Cowboys had one of the best offensive lines in football, they were dominant offensively. They still have several pieces from that great line in place, including Zack Martin. Yet, Tyron Smith could be on the outs, leading Tyler Smith to likely shift to left tackle. If so, adding a road-grader like O’Cyrus Torrence will create plenty of lanes for Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to run through if they’re still on the roster. – ABR

27. Buffalo Bills: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Despite having a deeply talented roster on both sides of the ball, deciding between an edge rusher and a lightning rod in Flowers was a tough decision. Yet, the opportunity to add a Tyreek Hill-like athlete doesn’t come around often. The Bills have already shown they can hurt you with deep bombs. How about working the underneath game, dumping the ball off to Flowers, and watching him dance all the way to the end zone? Bills Mafia will hop on that table. – ABR

Related: 9 athletic freaks poised to blow up the NFL Combine

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

Yeah, it’s not the sexy pick, but building through the trenches is underrated. Harrison is a technically sound pass protector who possesses good agility but simply needs to continue adding bulk to his frame. As is, he allowed just four sacks in three seasons in college, and if the Bengals get anywhere close to similar production, they’ll be happy as a clam. – ABR

29. New Orleans Saints (via DEN): Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford

We’re of the belief that if you don’t have a QB of the future on the roster, you can’t afford to ignore one. McKee may not be the attention-getter of the incoming QB class, but make no mistake, he’s got all the tools NFL scouts love. Standing at 6-foot-6, coming in with the Stanford pedigree as a true pocket passer who may be one of the more accurate QBs in the class, McKee could be worth a gamble here. – ABR

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

On the surface, it may seem odd for the team who generated the most sacks to target a pass rusher in the first round, but we’ve seen just how important rotational rushers can become. Yet, for Smith, he could be thrust into a starting role early on, considering Robert Quinn and Brandon Graham are both set for free agency. A player who was once viewed as a potential top-five pick feels like a classic high-risk, high-reward choice by Howie Roseman. – ABR

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Andre Smith II, EDGE, Army

The Super Bowl-winning team may remain competitive for as long as Patrick Mahomes is around, but it would be nice if his defense could play a bigger role in their success. What better way to continue generating turnovers than by creating pressure? Andre Smith is an exciting prospect who stands 6-foot-7, tallied 20 sacks in college, and may just need to add muscle before becoming a superstar pass rusher. – ABR

Related: Top 20 NFL head coaches of all time

The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick due to tampering violations.

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