Free agency has changed the NFL landscape quite a bit, even with a few big dominoes left to fall. And that means you'll notice quite a few changes from my first mock draft from early February -- including a few projected trades. Here's my next crack at how the first 31 picks might go on April 27.
- 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.
- Check out NFL+ for live coverage of Florida pro day beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 30.
My best guess is the Panthers traded up to No. 1 overall with one quarterback in mind but were open to going in a different direction as they continued evaluating the top prospects at the position. My gut tells me Stroud was the target all along and will be the pick.
If this is the pick, it’ll be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik protects Young, whose size/durability has been the subject of much scrutiny.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH ARIZONA CARDINALS
The Colts could move up one spot to prevent another team from jumping ahead of them to pick Richardson.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Anderson could be to the Cardinals what Haason Reddick was to the Eagles last season (or what Reddick was to the Cardinals in 2020, if you will).
If the Seahawks are comfortable selecting Carter after investigating his off-field issues, he would fill a big need for them. He has the potential to be the top player from this year’s class.
The Lions could continue adding at cornerback even after making moves to upgrade the secondary in free agency.
Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels isn’t ruling out drafting a quarterback even after signing Jimmy Garoppolo. Levis has the arm and confidence to fit here and wait for his chance.
One spot that still stands out as a massive need is edge rusher, so they select Wilson, my No. 6 prospect in the draft.
I don't know if Johnson is one of GM Ryan Poles' blue-chip prospects or not. But after the Bears did not sign one of the top free-agent tackles, they draft a long, athletic, smart and versatile prospect.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
After landing their quarterback, the Texans could stay put at No. 12 and consider a receiver. But in this scenario, they trade up for a much-needed edge rusher with terrific potential in DeMeco Ryans' defense.
I thought long and hard about putting a wide receiver here but just couldn’t do it. Even with Andre Dillard on board, the Titans could draft Skoronski as either a tackle or a guard and figure out his best pro position along the way.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH HOUSTON TEXANS
The Eagles could be building Georgia North here with the addition of Smith, along with 2022 picks Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. Smith could help Philadelphia prepare for life after Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett, who are both due to become free agents after the 2023 season. Trader Howie rarely sits on his hands during the draft.
Left tackle Duane Brown has one year left on his deal, but he'll turn 38 before the start of next season. The Jets need to get the tackle spot ironed out with Aaron Rodgers intending to play for them in 2023. Mekhi Becton would have his fifth-year option declined in this scenario.
Bill Belichick has only drafted one Round 1 cornerback in New England: the recently retired Devin McCourty, who was moved to safety a few years into the league. But Witherspoon's advanced development, a need at corner and any intel Belichick can gather from his former assistant, Illinois head coach Bret Bielema, would make this a slam-dunk pick.
Want Jordan Love to succeed? Giving him a highly athletic seam threat with sticky hands might help. Assuming Kincaid’s back injury isn't an issue that lingers, he and Love could make quite the duo in Wisconsin.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
Smith-Njigba gives Justin Herbert a shifty underneath receiver who could eventually replace Keenan Allen.
The obvious connection between the franchise and the Porter family aside, cornerback is a need for Pittsburgh. I think I’ll keep projecting him to the Steelers until someone tells me why this isn’t a fit.
The trade of T.J. Hockenson left a pretty big hole at the position. Head coach Dan Campbell should love the chance to draft a Jason Witten-style replacement in Mayer, and I think GM Brad Holmes will love the fact that Mayer is still only 21 years old.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Some will view this as a reach or a luxury pick. But even with Tony Pollard coming back on the franchise tag, I could see this pair being special. Ezekiel Elliott averaged 3.9 yards on 248 touches last season; now imagine what the dynamic Robinson could do with a similar workload.
Coincidentally, Torrence battling with Jalen Carter was one of my favorite prospect matchups to watch this past college football season. Here, their rivalry will continue as teammates.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Sliding back and picking up a starting-caliber corner could be a coup for Ron Rivera's defense. If they trust Banks on the outside right out of the chute, Kendall Fuller could move to the slot role.
If the Ravens and Lamar Jackson don't end up going their separate ways, the team could look to move down and add picks (it has only five right now). But Baltimore might regret passing up on Johnston in this situation. He gives them another playmaking talent to try to finally get that position right.
The Vikings are badly in need of interior pressure, and Kancey can provide that. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Will Levis lands here should he still be available.
Offensive tackle and edge rusher are two areas that could be addressed following free-agent losses. However, the secondary is also thin, and the versatile, competitive Branch can be an upgrade in the slot and in three-safety sets.
Flowers gives the Giants a true over-the-top threat who is also capable of working underneath. Daniel Jones should have an array of weapons at his disposal now.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH DALLAS COWBOYS
If the Bucs move Tristan Wirfs to left tackle, Wright could be a Day 1 starter on the right side.
Addison can win one-on-one matchups and should be an upgrade over the recently released Isaiah McKenzie.
If the Bengals part with Jonah Williams, who has requested a trade, Harrison could slide in as the bookend to another former Sooner, left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
The Saints should continue adding to the defensive line. Cameron Jordan is entering the final year of his contract. Carl Granderson and Tanoh Kpassagnon are role players. Payton Turner remains a mystery having played in just 13 games in two seasons.
The Eagles quietly lost quite a bit inside this offseason and will need to plan for life after Fletcher Cox, who is back on a one-year deal. Adebawore, one of the NFL Scouting Combine's standouts, has fascinating inside-outside potential.
Travis Kelce will turn 34 next season and should have more of his blocking duties absorbed by others. Enter Washington, who can block, catch and offer the Chiefs more 12 personnel (two tight ends) possibilities.