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2023 NFL mock draft - New 2-round projections for Senior Bowl week have Will Levis #1 selection
by Luke Easterling
Thu, February 2, 2023 at 7:27 PM EST
You know it’s officially draft season when the entire NFL universe descends upon Mobile for the Senior Bowl, and that’s where we find all the action again this week, as many of this year’s draft hopefuls test their mettle against top competition.
After a few days of practice, with NFL coaching and pro decision-makers in the audience, we’ll no doubt see many prospects sending their draft stock in either direction.
Taking all that into consideration, here’s an updated look at how the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL 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.
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1. Indianapolis Colts (from CHI)* | Kentucky QB Will Levis
(AP Photo/John Amis)
The Colts still make the most sense as a trade partner for the Bears, as they could fall in love with one of this year’s top quarterback prospects, and want to jump the division-rival Texans (with at least an additional first-round pick and second-round pick going to the Bears, and likely more) to make sure they get their man. While that should be Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud, it won’t surprise me if the become enamored with Levis’ physical tools, looking past his flaws and inconsistencies in favor of the upside.
2. Houston Texans | Alabama QB Bryce Young
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
This would be a massive win for the Texans, who lost out on the No. 1 pick at the last second, but still end up with the best quarterback prospect in the draft. Whatever Young might lack in ideal size, he more than makes up for by passing every other franchise quarterback test with flying colors.
3. Arizona Cardinals | Alabama EDGE Will Anderson
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
This is the ideal scenario for the Cardinals, who see two quarterbacks come off the board before their pick, leaving them to choose between the two best overall prospects in the entire draft at No. 3 overall. They can’t go wrong either way, but we’ll give Anderson the nod here over Jalen Carter.
4. Chicago Bears (from IND)* | Georgia DL Jalen Carter
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
What a win for the Bears, who move down three spots, load up on additional pick, and still land one of this year’s top overall prospects at a huge position of need. Carter is a disruptive force at the point of attack, and would give the Bears an immediate cornerstone around whom they can rebuild their once proud defense.
5. Seattle Seahawks (from DEN) | Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson
(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
The Russell Wilson trade is the gift that keeps on giving for the Seahawks, who are headed to the playoffs, and still have a top-five pick at their disposal. This is a perfect spot for them to help out their defensive front, either along the interior or on the edge, and Wilson is a high-upside prospect who is a perfect fit for what Seattle wants at the position.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from LAR via DET)* | Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Tom Brady’s finally retiring (for real, this time), and the Bucs’ brass won’t be interested in a full rebuild. What they could do, should a polished, pro-ready franchise quarterback like Stroud make it to this spot, strike a deal to move up ahead of the equally QB-needy Raiders and Panthers to snatch him. It’ll likely cost at least next year’s 1st-round pick and this year’s third-round pick (probably more), but it would give the Bucs a quality restart at the game’s most important position, on a cheap rookie deal.
7. Las Vegas Raiders | Florida QB Anthony Richardson
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Derek Carr is obviously on his way out, but even if the Raiders bring in a veteran quarterback, spending this pick on a high-upside passer wouldn’t be a bad idea. Richardson may take some patience, but he’s got many of the same traits that eventually made Josh Allen a superstar.
8. Atlanta Falcons | Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy
(AP Photo/Stew Milne)
This is a great scenario for the Falcons, who need help along the entire defensive front, and have multiple options from the same program that could fill that need in different ways. We’ll have them go with the edge player in Murphy, giving them a complete defender who can anchor against the run as well as rush the passer.
9. New England Patriots (from CAR)* | Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
With all four of this year’s top quarterback prospects already off the board, the Panthers take a couple of mid-round picks from the Pats to move down five spots to regroup. New England fills their biggest need with this year’s most pro-ready offensive line prospect, jumping ahead of multiple teams that could be targeting a versatile, plug-and-play blocker like Skoronski.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from NO) | Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
After landing a top-10 pick from last year’s draft-day deal with the Saints, the Eagles get to fill their biggest need with the top prospect at the position in this year’s class. Witherspoon checks every box from a physical standpoint, and his film shows a polished cover man ready to make an immediate impact from Day 1.
11. Tennessee Titans | Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
This offensive line desperately needs help, both inside and out. With Skoronski off the board, the Titans opt for a battle-tested prospect who has played both tackle spots as well as guard, all with a track record of success against top competition.
12. Houston Texans (from CLE) | TCU WR Quentin Johnston
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
After landing this year’s top quarterback prospect at No. 2, the Texans grab the best pass-catcher in this year’s draft to help him out. Even with a new head coach in DeMeco Ryans who comes from a defensive background, Houston could still give Bryce Young a massive target with tons of length, athleticism and big-play ability.
13. Washington Commanders (from NYJ)* | Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
(AP Photo/Young Kwak)
The Jets’ biggest need is offensive tackle, but with both Skoronski and Johnson already off the board, they take a mid-round pick from Washington to move down a few spots and get better value. The Commanders know the Panthers might be targeting a top corner at No. 14, so they jump ahead to grab this Colorado transfer with and elite combination of size, length, and ball skills.
14. Carolina Panthers (from NE)* | Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
After trading back and adding some extra picks, the Panthers are still able to address a big need on defense with a perfect fit, and get better value in the process. Porter has the same kind of size/length/physicality combo that made Carolina spend a top-10 pick on Jaycee Horn two years ago, and they’d make a dominant tandem.
15. Green Bay Packers | Iowa DL Lukas Van Ness
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
It’s easy to keep mocking pass-catchers here, but at some point, we’ve got to realize the Packers tend to prioritize other positions in the first round, particularly on the other side of the ball. Van Ness is a versatile defender who can line up all over the trenches, with impressive physical traits that give him a sky-high ceiling.
16. New York Jets (from WAS)* | Georgia OT Broderick Jones
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
After sliding back a few spots, the Jets are able to get better value while filling their biggest need at offensive tackle. Jones has a great blend of athleticism, physicality, and polished technique, and would bring plenty of championship experience to a promising roster.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers | Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Offensive tackle is the bigger need, but the value’s just not there in this scenario, and this Steelers regime just don’t spend first-round picks at that position. They do invest in corners from powerhouse programs who bring the kinds of physical tools that Ringo does to the table.
18. Detroit Lions | Alabama DB Brian Branch