UPDATE: When we originally published Mock 2.0 on Tuesday morning, I had Atlanta trading the No. 8 overall pick to Baltimore in exchange for Lamar Jackson, with the Ravens subsequently selecting Kentucky QB Will Levis. But later on Tuesday, after Baltimore placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, NFL Network's Peter Schrager reported that Atlanta does not plan to pursue the former league MVP. So, in the wake of my colleague's reporting, I've tweaked this simulation a bit.
Without further ado, enjoy Mock 2.1!
The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine provided valuable information on this year's prospect pool. Which players boosted themselves into Round 1? Who fell out?
Fresh off my annual scouting trip to Indianapolis, here is my latest mock of the 2023 NFL Draft's first round.
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 quarterbacks put on a show at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, thus increasing the critical position's supply and inherently lowering the demand for the No. 1 pick. Add in the current uncertainty surrounding Jalen Carter, and Chicago ultimately stays put and grabs this draft's top edge rusher.
Young is the quarterback with the best poise, fewest concerns and most "face of the franchise" personality. He'll fit in perfectly with the Texans.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH ARIZONA CARDINALS
The Raiders can either sit tight and hope they get their guy at No. 7 ... or look to aggressively move up and target the quarterback they want. In this exercise, Josh McDaniels and Co. jump into Arizona's draft slot to snag Stroud, who put on the best pure throwing display in Indy.
The sixth overall pick would seem like a ripe trade-in spot to get the last of the "big four" quarterbacks, but Detroit sits tight and grabs the ballhawking cornerback out of Illinois.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
The scenario would be a huge win for the Cardinals: adding valuable draft capital and one of the top edge defenders in the draft.
As mentioned at the top of this file, I originally had Atlanta trading this pick to Baltimore in exchange for Lamar Jackson, with the Ravens subsequently selecting Kentucky QB Will Levis. But later on Tuesday, after Baltimore placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, NFL Network's Peter Schrager reported that Atlanta does not plan to pursue the former league MVP. So, in the wake of my colleague's reporting, I have the Falcons keeping the pick and nabbing a big, versatile edge defender who plays consistent football.
In the initial version of this mock, after the top four quarterbacks flew off the board within the first eight picks, Carolina opted for Clemson edge Myles Murphy. But in light of what I discussed at the top of this file and in the Falcons blurb just above, the Panthers have a signal-caller fall right into their lap. The only question: Do they value the toolsy Kentucky gunslinger as a true "face of the franchise" type?
With such a loaded roster, Philadelphia is a challenging team to mock for. That said, cornerback is a need. Gonzalez has the size, speed and athleticism to match up against any flavor of wideout in the league.
Van Ness just crushed the combine. His physical components and play strength will likely remind DeMeco Ryans of the players he had on his excellent defense in San Francisco.
Jones gives the Jets an insurance policy for oft-injured left tackle Mekhi Becton. And if Becton stays healthy, Jones can swing over to play on the right side.
This pick might surprise some, but Wright is a big tackle with heavy hands who gets guys blocked. He's smaller than Trent Brown, but offers a similar game.
I believe any of top three tight ends could end up in this spot, depending on how the Packers prioritize athleticism vs. blocking, but Mayer is a solid combination of traits right here.
Washington has multiple needs along the offensive line, but this pick would allow the Commanders to move Sam Cosmi to guard and plug Johnson into an early starting role.
Banks obliterated the testing in Indy, pushing himself up the draft board. His scheme versatility gives the Steelers coverage flexibility.
Let's go! The talented Longhorn back combines power and wiggle -- and he can have a similar impact on an offense to what we saw this past season from Josh Jacobs in Las Vegas. Baller move here, Brad Holmes!
Tampa Bay could very well lose Jamel Dean to free agency. Porter Jr. is a long-limbed press corner who can fit into the Buccaneers' scheme as an early starter.
After addressing the defensive line with their first pick of this exercise, the Seahawks add more size and speed to round out a talented receiver trio in Seattle.
We all love Keenan Allen, but he turns 31 on the first day of this draft. Smith-Njigba's player profile is very similar to what Allen has offered during his successful Bolts tenure.
Whoever's at quarterback this coming season in Baltimore, the Ravens need a wideout who can get open and make challenging catches outside of his frame. Flowers fits the bill.
White needs more game polish, but he's big, strong and athletic. If his NFL team can continue to develop his traits at defensive end, White has a high ceiling.
Jacksonville adds one of the most disruptive pass rushers in the draft. Kancey's an undersized -- but explosive -- interior lineman with rare mismatch quickness inside.
This could be a fairly easy call, as Kincaid's sticky hands and high-volume capability allow the Giants to mix up their "11" and "12" personnel groupings more frequently.
I'm sorry, did you say he played for Arkansas, looks like Leighton Vander Esch on the field and is a linebacker who can rush the passer? Feels like an automatic selection for Jerry Jones.
The Bills need help on the defensive side of the ball, but guard is a position they may not pass up on in the first round if a body-mover like Torrence makes it to this spot.
Bergeron is a better run blocker than pass protector at this stage in his development, but he's talented and gives the Bengals another option at either tackle spot.
Smith only performed the bench press in Indianapolis, tossing up the bar 34 times -- the highest total for any defender at this year's combine. But that's just the beginning, as he'll blow the doors off of testing at his pro day. For a team in need of DT help, this is a slam-dunk pick.
I could easily see explosive RB Jahmyr Gibbs being the pick here, but I'm going with an Alabama product from the other side of the ball. Branch is a very smart, very consistent player with the versatility to man multiple spots in the secondary.