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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Doug Farrar

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Anarchy in the NFL with final first-round projections

Things get weird as the draft beckons.

Teams looking to trade up or down are increasing the frequency and intensity of their offers. Teams with the desired picks are sitting in the proverbial catbird seat, awaiting the proposal that might pry a pick loose. Players may be involved as well, as every team with a stake in the first round tries to establish pole position before 8:00 p.m. EST on Thursday night.

With all that in mind, we have quite an aggressive final first-round mock for the 2023 NFL draft. For the first time in the history of professional football, quarterbacks are selected with each of the first four picks. It’s only happened with the first three picks three times:

1971: Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, and Dan Pastorini;

1999: Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, and Akili Smith;

2021: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance.

Now, the trio becomes a quartet, and here’s how it hypothetically happens:

  • The Carolina Panthers select Alabama’s Bryce Young with the first overall pick they’ve already acquired from the Chicago Bears;
  • The Las Vegas Raiders trade up with the Houston Texans for the second overall pick, and select Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud;
  • The Tennessee Titans trade up with the Arizona Cardinals for the third overall pick, and select Florida’s Anthony Richardson; and
  • The Indianapolis Colts select Kentucky’s Will Levis with their fourth overall pick.

That takes the Texans out of the quarterback derby high in the first round, and there have been multiple reports indicating that Houston’s on board with that in favor of multiple and valuable picks at other positions.

There is also a fifth quarterback taken in the first round, with Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 19th overall pick. If you think that’s a reach given Hooker’s injury status and time in a spread/veer offense, remember that this is the same franchise that selected Florida’s Kyle Trask in the second round of the 2022 draft. Hooker would be the value pick of the draft in comparison.

We have one more bit of attendant weirdness in this first-round projection: Not only do the Philadelphia Eagles select Texas running back Bijan Robinson with their first of two picks in the first round, they trade up with the Atlanta Falcons to the eighth overall pick to do so. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has never taken a running back in the first round, and the Eagles may not value the position as other teams do, but… I’m looking at the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson in an offense that already pins defenses to the wall with Jalen Hurts in the run game, and I’m thinking “Lombardi Trophy.”

So, with all that background, here’s my most YOLO first-round mock of 2023. Because, you just never know what might happen.

1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago Bears): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

2. Las Vegas Raiders (from Houston Texans): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

(Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch)

3. Tennessee Titans (from Arizona Cardinals): Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

(Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports)

4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

(Syndication: The Indianapolis Star)

5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos): Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

(Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)

6. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

7. Houston Texans (from Las Vegas Raiders): Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

(Syndication: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal)

8. Philadelphia Eagles (from Atlanta Falcons): Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

(Syndication: Austin American-Statesman)

9. Chicago Bears: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

(AP Photo/David Dermer)

10. Atlanta Falcons (from Philadelphia Eagles): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

(Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

11. Arizona Cardinals (from Tennessee Titans): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns): Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

13. Green Bay Packers (from New York Jets): Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

14. New England Patriots: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

(Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

15. New York Jets (from Green Bay Packers): Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

(Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports)

16. Washington Commanders: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia

(Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports)

18. Detroit Lions: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

(Syndication: USA TODAY)

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

(Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports)

20. Seattle Seahawks: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

(AP Photo/Barry Reeger2

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

(Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports)

22. Baltimore Ravens: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

23. Minnesota Vikings: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

(Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports)

25. New York Giants: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

26. Dallas Cowboys: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

(Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports)

27. Buffalo Bills: Calijah Kancey, DL, Pitt

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

29. New Orleans Saints (from Denver Broncos): Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State

(Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Mazi Smith, DI, Michigan

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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