It's draft week! Finally. The waiting game is nearly over. But as we hurtle toward the real thing in Kansas City, Missouri, allow me to squeeze in one last attempt at predicting the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
NOTE: The NFL announced in August that the Miami Dolphins will forfeit their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick following an investigation into whether the team violated league policies pertaining to the integrity of the game.
The diminutive gunslinger becomes the face of the franchise in Carolina.
The ultra-athletic edge defender gives first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans a high-end pass rusher to build around.
As a polished QB hunter with outstanding tools and technique, Anderson is the disruptive presence the Cardinals need on the edge.
The former Buckeye steps into the QB1 role, giving the Colts the franchise quarterback they’ve been missing since Andrew Luck’s unexpected retirement.
Pete Carroll attempts to recreate the “Legion of Boom” with Gonzalez joining Tariq Woolen to give the Seahawks a pair of super-sized corners on the perimeter.
The Lions pounce on the best defensive player in the draft to fortify the interior of a front that is physical and athletic from edge to edge.
The ultra-versatile Witherspoon perfectly fits into Patrick Graham’s hybrid defense.
The Dirty Birds desperately need a high-energy pass rusher with inside-outside position flexibility. Van Ness is a talented technician with a nonstop motor and an intriguing set of tools.
Protecting Justin Fields is a top priority as the team continues to focus on surrounding its franchise quarterback with a better supporting cast in 2023.
The Eagles do not mind investing in front-line personnel in the first round. Murphy adds another athletic pass rusher to a deep, talented rotation that wears opponents down over 60 minutes.
Fixing the offensive line has to be a top priority for Mike Vrabel after watching the unit struggle a season ago.
The Texans take a flier on a boom-or-bust quarterback prospect with intriguing physical tools and arm talent.
Bill Belichick zigs while the rest of the league zags, taking a running back in the first round. Robinson gives the Patriots an elite RB1 in the backfield to anchor the offense and alleviate some pressure on Mac Jones to carry the unit.
With Aaron Rodgers on his way to the Jets, the team needs to upgrade its offensive line to keep the four-time MVP upright and protected.
Ron Rivera’s previous success with Josh Norman could lead the veteran coach to add this long, rangy corner to the lineup.
Mike Tomlin’s desire to play bully ball could make Wright the perfect pick at this spot. The mammoth edge blocker (6-foot-5, 333 pounds) knocks defenders around at the point of attack.
The Lions continue to upgrade the defensive backfield with a speedy corner who provides size at the position.
Rebuilding the offensive line is a pressing need for the Buccaneers as they move past the Tom Brady era. Torrence is a rugged interior blocker with quick feet and a powerful punch.
As Pete Carroll continues to remake the Seahawks' defense into a unit that mirrors his dominant group from the 2010s, Smith gives Seattle a versatile edge defender with the size, athleticism and range to fill the role once occupied by Bruce Irvin on the perimeter.
Adding a developmental dual-threat quarterback with superstar potential gives Baltimore a solid insurance policy behind Lamar Jackson. If the former MVP signs a short-term deal or refuses to return to the team, the Ravens have an explosive option in the bullpen waiting to take over the squad.
EDITOR'S UPDATE: Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have agreed to terms on a five-year, $260 million extension, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on April 27.
The Jaguars' defense needs a slot defender with the instincts and IQ to fill the hybrid linebacker/defensive back role in sub-packages. Branch is a natural fit as a versatile safety with extensive experience playing in the slot for the Crimson Tide.
Surrounding "Danny Dimes" with explosive playmakers will enable the Giants offense to take the next step in Year 2 of the Brian Daboll era.
Investing high picks in the offensive line has paid off significantly for the Cowboys over the years. A Day 1 starter at guard, Avila has the quick feet and strong hands to thrive in a balanced offense.
The silky-smooth pass catcher from USC would be a nice addition to a wide receiver corps that needs more "get open" specialists around Stefon Diggs.
Upgrading the offensive line will help Joe Burrow thrive against the rugged defenses in the AFC North. Harrison is not a finished product, but his size, length and athleticism could make him an all-star down the road. His arrival, combined with Orlando Brown Jr.'s new big-money contract, would likely mean the end of Jonah Williams' tenure in Cincinnati.
Putting an energetic defender beside Cam Jordan could help the Saints' defense spark a playoff run in 2023. Kancey is a relentless pass rusher with the first-step quickness and burst to create problems on passing downs.
The Eagles add a combo defender with inside-outside playmaking ability at the line of scrimmage. White can man multiple positions along the defensive front and should fit well within Philly's blue-collar pass-rush rotation.
Adding more firepower to the defense will help coordinator Steve Spagnuolo pepper opponents with creative blitzes and pressures. McDonald is a productive sack artist with explosive speed, quickness and a nonstop motor.