Anthony Richardson vaults way up, while Jalen Carter ‘slides’ to team that trades back
The NFL Combine is over and the sprint to the actual 2023 NFL Draft is in full swing. Several players really saw their stock rise with strong performances in Indianapolis, and we’re getting closer to the top pick in the draft being addressed.
The main issue of this mock draft? The host city of the combine is stepping up to get their next franchise quarterback.
Here is Charles McDonald’s 2023 NFL Draft 5.0. (Moe Haidar/Yahoo Sports)
In this scenario, the Colts send the fourth pick, the 35th pick, the 106th pick and their 2024 first-round pick to the Bears in exchange for the rights to select their new franchise savior. Stroud will likely cement himself as the best quarterback in the draft with a near-perfect workout at the combine.
Anthony Richardson had a strong performance at this year’s NFL combine and may have established himself as a potential top-five pick moving forward. The Texans will adopt the Shanahan system in Houston under new offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, and Richardson gives them a super athletic quarterback to run it. That wouldn’t stop the team from signing a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo, leaving them in a much better place than last season.
Arizona needs a pass rush in a big way if Jonathan Gannon is going to have a successful first season as the team’s head coach. Will Anderson had a combine workout that matched the bar and profiles as a standout rusher at the next level. Elite prospect for a team that really needs a player at this position.
4. Chicago Bears (via Colts)
Jalen Carter’s “slide” ends here. Carter has a lot of questions to answer about his role in a tragic, fatal car accident in January, but players in blue are hard to come by. The Bears are taking a risk here on an elite talent.
Tyree Wilson has the build of a superstar, something the Seahawks have the luxury of capturing here with the pick they received from the Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade.
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The Lions have plenty of pieces to be excited about moving forward, but they’re still missing their next franchise quarterback. There are concerns about Bryce Young’s size, but at this point in the draft he is a worthy draft pick.
The last quarterback for a team with perhaps the biggest quarterback question right now. The Raiders are reportedly not players for Lamar Jackson or Aaron Rodgers, so Will Levis, come on down. Of course, that makes sense.
It looks like the Falcons will let Kaleb McGary hit free agency, opening a big hole at right tackle. Anton Harrison is a young, talented offensive tackle who has the potential to start next to All-Pro Chris Lindstrom for a long time in Atlanta.
Nolan Smith’s game is a bit of a projection, but it’s hard to find edge defenders who run a 4.3 40-yard dash. Smith paired with Brian Burns would give the Panthers a ton of speed off the edge.
The rich get richer. Christian Gonzalez looks like a cornerback prospect for a team that doesn’t have many needs on paper. Gonzalez would give them a shutdown corner to pair with their defensive line.
Out with Taylor Lewan, in with Peter Skoronski. Skoronski may not have the ideal arm length to play lefty, but his film should quell most concerns with his game.
A wide variety to go with their new franchise quarterback in Richardson. Quentin Johnston is a little raw, but he has the size and athleticism to be an impact player early on as he develops his game for the pro level.
TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston joins Anthony Richardson in Houston in this mock draft. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
This pick is a bit of a projection with Duane Brown deciding to return for another season in the NFL, but Paris Johnson would give the Jets a little new insurance at offensive tackle — assuming they even have the pick once the Aaron Rodgers saga comes to an end.
Like most Georgia players, offensive tackle Broderick Jones had a rockstar performance at the combine. The Patriots could use some offensive talent, and Jones is a good bet to end up as a quality starter.
Regardless of whether or not Aaron Rodgers remains in Green Bay, the Packers need to add more receiving talent. Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be a good fit with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs as they continue to get younger at wide receiver.
16. Washington Commanders
O’Cyrus Torrence isn’t a pretty player, but he profiles as a starter for a team that needs to continue to add offensive line talent.
The Steelers could stand to add some talent at cornerback here with the top offensive tackles off the board. Joey Porter Jr. would definitely feel right at home in Pittsburgh and play a valuable role in their defense.
18. Detroit Lions
Deonte Banks made some money showing up at the combine this year. Banks checks all the boxes physically and would give the Lions some much needed pass protection help.
Mayer didn’t have the most outstanding combine, but he didn’t underperform and still projects to be the first tight end on the board. The Buccaneers still have to figure out their quarterback situation, but Mayer could help whoever they decide to start right away.
20. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have their quarterback, now they can focus on adding more talent for Geno Smith to be successful. Here, they get a player who would pair well with DK Metcalf for the long haul in Zay Flowers.
Devon Witherspoon could go much higher than that, but the Chargers get a steal and add Witherspoon to a cornerback room that’s already in good shape when everyone is healthy.
Whether or not Lamar Jackson stays in Baltimore, the Ravens must continue to build their offensive supporting cast. Jordan Addison didn’t have the most explosive combine, but he’s a good football player who would give Baltimore some much-needed depth.
USC’s Jordan Addison would be a good pick for the Baltimore Ravens offense whether or not they keep Lamar Jackson. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Mazi Smith didn’t work out at the combine, but he’s still a top defensive tackle, which would be a nice roll of the dice for the Vikings at this point in the draft.
Brian Branch is a steal at this point for the Jaguars, sliding right into the nickel spot for their defense. Branch would give the Jaguars versatility on defense that they didn’t have a season ago.
Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are back as the Giants, and here they can add a player who helps them both in Darnell Washington. Washington is a powerhouse jammer, especially in space, and has untapped receiver potential.
Lukas Van Ness has the potential to go much higher than that. He could be a long-term pass rusher to pair with Micah Parsons and in the near future gives them a third pass rusher along with Demarcus Lawrence.
Darnell Wright is another talented player in this offensive tackle class. Wright just blew up the combine and has a ton of experience in Tennessee’s run-heavy offense.
The Bengals need a right tackle. Dawand Jones is the prototypical right tackle. It almost makes too much sense.
Prospects slide down the board every year. Myles Murphy ends up being the underdog in this year’s draft, but finds himself in a great situation where he can start right away on a good defense.
30. Philadelphia Eagles
Christian Gonzalez and Bijan Robinson are good fortune for the Eagles. Robinson cemented himself as the top pick in the draft with a strong performance in Indianapolis.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Kelee Ringo finds himself as the last pick in the first round this year, but it’s hard to pass up his talent and production at a high-impact position at this point.
(A first-round pick was forfeited to the Miami Dolphins as a result of the NFL’s tampering investigation.)
Teams without picks in the first round37. Los Angeles Rams
Here’s to a comeback for the Rams to actually get back to being a good running team next season.
43. Cleveland Browns
Hyatt is a speedy wide receiver who would help the Browns make some bigger plays next season. They’re locked in on Deshaun Watson, so they can make his life easier.
52. Miami Dolphins
Depth up front to help them in their quest to protect Tua Tagovailoa.
68. Denver Broncos (via Indianapolis Colts)
The Broncos find a quarterback to back up Russell Wilson.
100. San Francisco 49ers
A smart, strong safety who can play a variety of spots in the 49ers’ defense.