Just one week remains in the 2022 NFL regular season, which means we’re just days away from having the top 18 picks locked in atop the 2023 NFL draft order.
We could still see some movement at the top of the order based on what happens in Week 18, and with four quarterback prospects with the potential to warrant top-10 consideration, this last week of action could have a huge impact for those teams desperate for a franchise signal-caller.
Here’s how the first two rounds of this year’s draft could shake out:
*NOTE: The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick in next year’s draft as a result of the NFL’s investigation into tampering violations.
1. Houston Texans | Alabama QB Bryce Young
Davis Mills obviously isn’t the answer, so it’s a safe bet the Texans will be looking for his long-term replacement here. It’s a tight race between Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud for this spot, but despite Young’s lack of ideal size, his arm talent, athleticism, competitiveness and intangibles win out.
2. Chicago Bears | Alabama EDGE Will Anderson
Obviously, the Bears’ prime objective in the offseason needs to be building around Justin Fields on offense, but that can be done in many different ways. In this scenario, their best bet is to take perhaps the best overall prospect in the entire draft, replacing what they lost in Robert Quinn.
3. Seattle Seahawks (from DEN) | Georgia DL Jalen Carter
The Russell Wilson deal just keeps looking better and better for the Seahawks, who are in line for a top-five pick (among others). If things play out like this, they’ll be able to address one of their biggest needs here, with arguably the top overall prospect in the entire draft class.
4. Arizona Cardinals | Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy
The Cards need help in the trenches on both sides of the ball, so this pick comes down to where they find the best value. Even with all of the top offensive linemen still on the board here, their best bet is to go defense, where they add a massive, athletic edge defender in Murphy to help replace the retiring J.J. Watt.
5. Indianapolis Colts | Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud
Big changes are ahead for the Colts, who will need a new head coach and a new franchise quarterback next season. Stroud silenced any remaining doubters by carving up Georgia’s dominant defense in the CFP semifinal, and Indy has plenty of explosive weapons to help him succeed.
6. Detroit Lions (from LAR) | Clemson DL Bryan Bresee
I still think the Lions could go quarterback here, but if they’re more interested in building around Jared Goff for immediate success, they’ve got plenty of other needs to fill. Bresee is exactly the kind of disruptive force Detroit needs in the defensive trenches.
7. Atlanta Falcons | Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson
The Falcons need help at a lot of different positions, but the defensive front should be at the top of their list. With Bresee off the board, they move their attention to the edge, where they find a high-upside defender with a rare combination of size, athleticism and potential.
8. Las Vegas Raiders | Kentucky QB Will Levis
The Derek Carr era is obviously over in Vegas after his benching, so the Raiders will be looking for his replacement if Jarret Stidham can’ convince them otherwise. Levis is still a work in progress who struggles with accuracy, consistency, and decision-making, but his physical tools and competitiveness are still likely to land him in the top 10.
9. Carolina Panthers | Florida QB Anthony Richardson
After the carousel they endured at quarterback this season, that should be at the top of the priority list for whoever ends up in the head coach seat (it should be interim coach Steve Wilks). Richardson has drawn comparisons to Cam Newton, and with good reason, so Panthers fans should be thrilled to land a passer with his limitless upside.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from NO) | Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
Philly’s bonus pick from last year’s draft-day trade with the Saints nets them a top-10 slot, and they’re in perfect position to fill one of their biggest needs with the best corner in the class. Porter is a dominant defender with ideal size and length, and plays with the same physicality and competitiveness that made his dad a Pro Bowl defender.
11. Tennessee Titans | Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski
This offense desperately needs more weapons in the passing game, but they also need help at tackle, and the value is just too much to pass up there in this scenario. Skoronski is as polished and pro-ready as any prospect in this class, and would be an immediate upgrade on the right side.
12. Houston Texans (from CLE) | TCU WR Quentin Johnston
This is a tough call for Houston, who could use a stud offensive lineman like Ohio State’s Paris Johnson, or a true No. 1 receiver like Johnston. Either would be a huge help to Bryce Young’s development, but with Laremy Tunsil already in place at one tackle spot, the Texans opt for the top pass-catcher in this year’s class.
13. New York Jets | Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
Robert Saleh might be tempted to add more talent for his defense here, but the team’s biggest need is at offensive tackle, and Johnson is just too good a value to pass up here. He’s got experience at both tackle spots, as well as at guard, with a track record of success against top competition.
14. Washington Commanders | Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
This secondary needs a true shutdown artist to take over the No. 1 corner spot, and this gives Washington the perfect chance to do just that. Gonzalez has the size and length to excel in press-man coverage, and the instincts and ball skills to be a big-play machine on the outside.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers | Georgia OT Broderick Jones
Rebuilding this offensive line has to be the top priority for the Steelers in the offseason, and it has to start with finding a franchise left tackle. Jones has been stellar this season against top competition in the SEC, and would be a massive upgrade at a premium position to protect Kenny Pickett.
16. Green Bay Packers | Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer
The defense could use some trench help or a safety, but the value’s just not there in this scenario. The same is true for the offensive line prospects left on the board here. That points them toward a pass-catcher, and Mayer has the complete skill set to be an immediate difference-maker on every down.
17. Detroit Lions | Alabama DB Brian Branch
Detroit’s corner play on the outside has been a pleasant surprise so far this season, but they could still use a hybrid defender with the versatility to line up in the slot or at either safety spot. Branch is the perfect fit, having handled a similar role in Nick Saban’s defense with great success.
18. Seattle Seahawks | Florida State EDGE Jared Verse
After spending their top pick on a dominant force for the interior of their defensive front, the Seahawks use this selection to add a similar presence on the edge. Verse has been one of this year’s fastest-rising prospects, and his skill set is a perfect fit for what Pete Carroll wants at the position.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars | USC WR Jordan Addison
The Jags could go in a couple of different directions here, but they should err on the side of helping Trevor Lawrence whenever possible. That means landing one of this year’s most explosive pass-catchers in Addison, who makes up for his lack of ideal size with precise routes, separation, and ability to create big plays after the catch.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are both headed for free agency, so the Bucs could use another starting-caliber corner to pair with Carlton Davis III. Ringo’s had a roller-coaster campaign in 2022, but his size, length, and skill set make him a perfect fit in Todd Bowles’ scheme.
21. New England Patriots | Clemson LB Trenton Simpson
A weapon for the offense is possible here, but don’t be surprised if Bill Belichick takes the opportunity to grab one for his side of the ball. Simpson is one of the most athletic, versatile prospects in this draft, and would be a dangerous presence at every level of the field in New England.
22. New York Giants | Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
If there’s a worse receiver situation in the NFL right now, I’d love to see it. The Giants desperately need an infusion of talent here, and despite missing most of the 2022 season due to injury, Smith-Njigba’s 2021 tape was impressive enough to warrant first-round consideration.
23. Baltimore Ravens | Texas RB Bijan Robinson
If the Ravens are going to keep deploying such a run-heavy scheme on offense, they might need a new lead back if J.K. Dobbins isn’t able to return to form after multiple injuries. Robinson is a complete, three-down playmaker who could dominate opposing defenses that are focused on slowing down Lamar Jackson.
24. Los Angeles Chargers | Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt
Justin Herbert already has a pair of big, physical receivers who can win in contested-catch situations all day long (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams), but he could use one who can separate consistently. Hyatt’s breakout season was fueled by his explosive, big-play ability, which is exactly what this offense needs.
25. Cincinnati Bengals | South Carolina CB Cam Smith
There aren’t too many glaring needs on this roster, but the cornerback group could use a boost, and this scenario gives the Bengals a stellar value. Smith has been one of the nation’s top cover men over the last two seasons, despite facing top competition in the SEC.
26. Minnesota Vikings | SMU WR Rashee Rice
Adam Thielen isn’t getting any younger, and the Vikings should find a younger understudy to eventually take over as Justin Jefferson’s running mate at receiver. Rice has the size/speed combo that would make him a perfect complement to Jefferson.
27. Dallas Cowboys | Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon
Trevon Diggs is obviously one of the best corners in the game right now, but the Cowboys need an upgrade on the other side of the field. Witherspoon has been one of the most dominant cover men in the country this season, and would be an immediate improvement opposite Diggs.
28. Denver Broncos (from SF) | Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison
Helping Russell Wilson fix the offense has to be Denver’s top priority this offseason, and upgrading the offensive line is a must. Harrison is a tough, physical blocker who would immediately slot into the starting lineup and help make life easier for Wilson and company.
29. Buffalo Bills | Florida OL O'Cyrus Torrence
This pick has to be something to help Josh Allen, whether that’s along the offensive line, or at wide receiver. There are plenty of pass-catching options to pick from, but a dominant interior lineman might be harder to find, so Torrence gets the nod to help protect Allen, and improve the ground game.
30. Kansas City Chiefs | Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey
Right tackle is a big need, but if the board falls this way, the Chiefs will be better off adding a promising young edge rusher to pair with 2022 first-rounder George Karlaftis. Foskey has a similar frame and well-rounded skill set to Karlaftis, with the polish and experience to make an instant impact.
31. Philadelphia Eagles | Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs
I’ve been mocking this pick for a while now, and I don’t think I’ll stop anytime soon. This offense is already one of the most dominant and entertaining in the league, so adding a versatile weapon like Gibbs would just make it downright unfair.