The first major puzzle of the 2023 NFL Draft is almost complete. Minus the Dolphins’ selection being forfeited, after the 49ers and Bengals were eliminated in Sunday’s conference championship games with the Eagles and Chiefs advancing to Super Bowl 57.
That means the first-round order is now set from picks No. 1 through No. 30. This week’s 10th edition of Sporting News ’23 mock has some more changes before the bottom of the round, based on changing team needs and draft stock of particular prospects:
With all that mind, here’s the latest fresh look at early projections for the night of April 27 in Kansas City:
BIG BOARD: Ranking the top 70 prospects for 2023 NFL Draft
NFL mock draft 2023
1. Chicago Bears
- Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama (6-4, 235 pounds)
The Bears, picking first overall for the first time since 1947, shouldn’t need to consider QB with the passing and running ceiling of big-armed Justin Fields. The ideal scenario is trading down for extra first-down selection power with a team looking to jump the Texans for a particular franchise QB. If the Bears stay, they should look to get familiar defensive pop. Anderson would give them a new Khalil Mack after also saying goodbye to Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith on the second level.
MORE: Breaking down the Bears’ best options for No. 1 pick
2. Houston Texans
- Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (6-0, 194 pounds)
For the Texans, after seeing enough of Davis Mills, quarterback must be the pick right away. Although they are no longer guaranteed to select their QB of choice, they must first answer the question of whether they prefer Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Here’s thinking early that Young, with the pedigree that’s helped Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones become NFL starters, will provide the right combination of passing upside and little bust factor based on his intangibles and proven production.
MORE: Breaking down the Texans’ best options after missing No. 1 pick
3. Arizona Cardinals
- Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (6-3, 310 pounds)
The Cardinals also would have an easy pick to make here with J.J. Watt retiring and Zach Allen heading into free agency. Carter is a dominant, disruptive force made to make a lot of plays as an NFL base 3-4 end. He possesses Watt-like upside with pass-rush potential.
4. Indianapolis Colts
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (6-3, 215 pounds)
The Colts’ reward for an absolute QB mess between Matt Ryan, Nick Foles and Sam Ehlinger in the final abbreviated season under Frank Reich is being bad enough to get in position to stop recycling veteran QBs. They can land Stroud, a smart pocket passer with the right accuracy and intangibles to thrive as their true franchise replacement for Andrew Luck.
5. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos)
- Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (6-5, 275 pounds)
The Seahawks, after being eliminated in the wild-card round by the 49ers, should be thinking about boosting their defensive front seven with their extra higher first-rounder. Murphy has a great combination of explosiveness and instincts to maintain his pass-rush production in Pete Carroll’s scheme.
MORE: How Broncos ultimately landed on Sean Payton despite Jim Harbaugh, DeMeco Ryans courtship
6. Detroit Lions (from Rams)
- Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina (6-0, 188 pounds)
The Lions got some improved play from 2020 first-rounder Jeff Okudah in coverage but struggled to find other answers on the perimeter. Smith is a physical, explosive cover man for his size with the potential to become more polished, well-rounded and consistent.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia (6-0, 205 pounds)
The Raiders also would be in play for a quarterback here with Derek Carr set to be replaced, or they could look for more offensive skill help for Josh McDaniels’ replacement veteran QB (Tom Brady?). But they also should about corner help with oft-injured Rock Ya-Sin heading into free agency and Nate Hobbs suited best for the slot. Ringo translates his size well into physical, aggressive play.
8. Atlanta Falcons
- Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State (6-6, 310 pounds)
The Falcons can think defense here, too, but they also might be hard-pressed to re-sign right tackle Kaleb McGary after his terrific breakout 2022 season. Should they let him walk for a bigger contract elsewhere, Johnson would be a plug-and-play replacement with his nimble pass protection and run blocking upside.
9. Carolina Panthers
- Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (6-3, 232 pounds)
The Panthers need to clean up their QB situation after going from Baker Mayfield to P.J. Walker before circling back to Sam Darnold in a run-heavy offense. Levis represents a solid pocket passer with the arm, accuracy and quick release to thrive with the right support system.
MORE: NFL Draft order 2023– Updated list of Round 1 picks after Broncos traded Saints for Sean Payton
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints)
Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson (6-5, 300 pounds)
The Eagles took beefy Jordan Davis to address their aging at defensive tackle in the first round last year and can get the ideal complementary prospect here. Bresee offers good technique and footwork as a run-stopper and also can boost the inside pass rush.
11. Tennessee Titans
- Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (6-4, 251 pounds)
The Titans need get some big, physical mismatch-created receiving help for Treylon Burks in their new offense. Mayer has the makeup coach Mike Vrabels should love with his moxie and toughness and can be his version of George Kittle.
12. Houston Texans (from Browns)
- Jordan Addison, WR, USC (6-0, 175 pounds)
The Texans need to pair a dynamic pass-catcher with their new franchise QB. Addison has a nice blend of field-stretching speed and after-the-catch quickness to quickly develop into the go-to guy for Young.
13. New York Jets
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State (6-0, 197 pounds)
The Jets have dynamic second-year playmakers in first-round wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall. They can use this pick to give their next starting quarterback (Aaron Rodgers?) a reliable, smooth weapon a la former Buckeyes Wilson and Chris Olave to be a versatile co No. 1.
14. New England Patriots
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson (6-3, 225 pounds)
The Patriots weren’t bad on the second level, but they could be a little more dynamic all over the field. Simpson offers classic Bill Belichick versatility with his tough, speedy playmaking vs. run and pass.
15. Green Bay Packers
- Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU (6-4, 215 pounds)
The Packers know much of their future at the position is tied to now second-year flashy playmakers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs but they also know Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are free agents. Johnston is an ideal size-speed prospect and also offers route-running savvy and good hands
16. Washington Commanders
Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon (6-3, 250 pounds)
Cole Holcomb is coming off an injury-shortened season going into free agency and the Commanders should look for more all-around impact under former NFL linebackers Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio. They should then welcome Sewell’s reliable tackling and playmaking vs. the run plus high upside in coverage.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
- Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern (6-4, 315 pounds)
Dan Moore Jr. has been one of the league’s shakiest left tackles, especially in pass protection. The Steelers need a long-term rock in front of Kenny Pickett’s blind side and Skoronksi can deliver with his smooth quickness and athleticism on the edge.
18. Detroit Lions
Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame (6-4, 257 pounds)
The Lions could use a rangy bookend for 2022 No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson. Foskey can deliver with a powerful, explosive and technically sound game. He also has the potential to develop into an elite run defender.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers need help on the second level of the defense with some transition outside and Lavonte David as a pending free agent. Wilson is explosive and versatile for his size, capable of playing multiple impact positions along a front seven.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida (6-4, 232 pounds)
The Seahawks may still bring back Geno Smith on a reasonable deal, but he’s also 32 and likely has a capped ceiling in their offense. They are thinking more about whether to take a high-upside all-around QB with one of their two first-rounders. Richardson could benefit from a year of NFL sitting to further develop and put his big arm and athleticism together into a polished product.
21. Miami Dolphins (pick forfeited)
22. Los Angeles Chargers
- Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia (6-4, 310 pounds)
The Chargers will get Rashawn Slater back at left tackle but Trey Pipkins and Storm Norton are pending free agents and Jamaree Salyer might be better suited for the inside. Jones is a very agile as a natural pass protector and can also work to get stronger in the running game.
23. Baltimore Ravens
Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State (6-2, 198 pounds)
The Ravens need to work on revamping their secondary with Marcus Peters heading into free agency. They could use some of Porter’s size, speed and physicality to make more plays on the ball in coverage.
24. Minnesota Vikings
- Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon (6-2, 201 pounds)
The Vikings need to give Cam Dantzler better help on the back end with Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan heading into free agency. Gonzalez also offers good size and can get physical with his agile coverage.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M (6-3, 195 pounds)
The Jaguars had below-average safety play and top backup Andrew Wingard is a pending free agent. Johnson is a rangy cover man for the position who also is reliable in run support.
26. New York Giants
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU (6-0, 190 pounds)
The Giants need to get Daniel Jones a bona fide No. 1 target in the passing game to recover from their injury-riddled mess in 2022. Boutte is the latest standout LSU product with a good blend of perimeter field-stretching and inside route toughness.
27. Dallas Cowboys
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (6-0, 215 pounds)
With the possibilities of Tony Pollard exploring free agency after his breakout season and Ezekiel Elliott being cut for salary-cap purposes, Jerry Jones might be interested in replacing them with a potential superstar from down the road in Austin. Robinson is a three-down back with explosive qualities including vision, quickness, determination and open-field burst as a runner and receiver.
28. Buffalo Bills
- O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida (6-5, 347 pounds)
The Bills need interior offensive line help around Mitch Morse following a disappointing season from Rodger Saffold and Ryan Bates. Torrence has the power, nastiness, hands and feet they could use to become smoother inside.
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29. Cincinnati Bengals
Jordan Battle, S, Alabama (6-1, 206 pounds)
The Bengals likely won’t be re-signing Jessie Bates and fellow safety Vonn Bell also is a free agent. They should think about Johnson or Battle most as an immediate defensive need. Battle has the speed and quickness to excel in inside coverage and he can keep improving in run support.
MORE: Sean Payton trade grades– Broncos hire Russell Wilson’s perfect coach, Saints score key draft capital
30. New Orleans Saints (from 49ers through Broncos)
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia (6-3, 235 pounds)
The Saints are back in the first round after trading Sean Payton to Denver, getting the original San Francisco pick. Although New Orleans might think quarterback here should Richardson be available, Marcus Davenport likely won’t be re-signed and the Saints also need to think about more edge help with Cameron Jordan going into his Age-34 season.