2023 NFL mock draft 5.0: Anthony Richardson vaults way up, while Jalen Carter 'slides' to team that trades back
The NFL combine is over and the sprint toward the actual 2023 NFL Draft is in full swing. Some players really saw their stock increase with strong performances in Indianapolis and we’re inching closer to the top pick in the draft being dealt.
The leadoff of this mock draft? The host city of the combine moving up to get its future franchise quarterback.
1. Indianapolis Colts (via Chicago Bears)
Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud
In this scenario, the Colts send the fourth pick, 35th pick, 106th pick and their 2024 first-round selection to the Bears in exchange for the rights to select their new franchise savior. C.J. Stroud likely solidified himself as the top quarterback in the draft with a near-flawless workout at the combine.
2. Houston Texans
Florida QB Anthony Richardson
Anthony Richardson had a powerhouse performance at this year’s combine and may have asserted himself as a potential top-five pick. The Texans will be adopting the Shanahan system in Houston under new offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, and Richardson gives them a super-athletic QB to run it. This wouldn’t prevent the team from signing a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo, leaving them in a much better spot than last season.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.
Arizona needs a pass rusher in a big way if Jonathan Gannon is going to have a successful first season as the team’s head coach. Anderson had a combine workout that matched the tape and profiles as a standout edge rusher at the next level. Elite prospect for a team that really needs a player at this position.
4. Chicago Bears (via Colts)
Georgia DL Jalen Carter
Jalen Carter’s “slide” ends here. Carter has a lot of questions to answer about his role in a tragic, fatal car crash in January, but blue-chip players are difficult to find. The Bears take a risk here on an elite talent.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos)
Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson
Tyree Wilson has the build of a superstar edge rusher, something the Seahawks have the luxury of grabbing here with the pick they received from the Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade.
6. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams)
Alabama QB Bryce Young
The Lions have a lot of pieces to be excited about, but they’re still missing their future franchise quarterback. There are concerns about Bryce Young's size, but at this point in the draft he’s a worthy draft pick.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Kentucky QB Will Levis
The last quarterback for a team with maybe the biggest quarterback question right now. The Raiders reportedly aren’t players for Lamar Jackson or Aaron Rodgers, so Will Levis, come on down. Sure, that makes sense.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison
It appears the Falcons are going to let Kaleb McGary hit free agency, opening up a huge 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.
9. Carolina Panthers
Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith
Nolan Smith’s game is a bit of a projection, but it’s hard to find edge defenders that run a 4.3 40-yard dash. Smith paired with Brian Burns would give the Panthers a ton of speed off the edge.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints)
Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
The rich get richer. Christian Gonzalez looks like a slam-dunk cornerback prospect for a team that doesn’t have too many needs on paper. Gonzalez would give the Eagles a lockdown corner to pair with their defensive line.
11. Tennessee Titans
Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski
Out with Taylor Lewan, in with Peter Skoronski. He might not have ideal arm length to play left tackle, but his film should quell most concerns with his game.
12. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns)
TCU WR Quentin Johnston
A top-flight wideout 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 professional level.
13. New York Jets
Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
This pick is a bit of a projection with Duane Brown deciding he’s going to come back for another season in the NFL, but Paris Johnson would give the Jets a little young insurance at offensive tackle — assuming they even have this pick once the Aaron Rodgers saga comes to a close.
14. New England Patriots
Georgia OT Broderick Jones
Like most Georgia players, offensive tackle Broderick Jones had a rockstar performance at the combine. The Patriots could use some offensive tackle talent, and Jones is a good bet to end up as a quality starter.
15. Green Bay Packers
Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Whether or not Aaron Rodgers remains in Green Bay, the Packers need to add some more receiver talent. Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be a nice fit with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs as they continue to get younger at wide receiver.
16. Washington Commanders
Florida G O'Cyrus Torrence
O’Cyrus Torrence isn’t a pretty player, but he profiles as a plug-and-play starter for a team that needs to continue adding offensive line talent.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
The Steelers could stand to add some talent at cornerback here with the top offensive tackles off of the board. Joey Porter Jr. would obviously feel right at home in Pittsburgh and would fill a valuable role in their defense.
18. Detroit Lions
Maryland CB Deonte Banks
Deonte Banks made himself some money by showing out at the combine this year. Banks checks off all the boxes from a physical standpoint and would give the Lions some pass defense help that they sorely need.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer
Mayer didn’t have the most outstanding combine, but he didn’t perform poorly and still projects to be the first tight end off of the board. The Buccaneers still need to figure out their quarterback situation, but Mayer can help out whoever they decide to start immediately.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Boston College WR Zay Flowers
The Seahawks have their quarterback, now they can focus on adding more talent for Geno Smith to be successful. Here, they get a player that would pair well with D.K. Metcalf for the long term in Zay Flowers.
21. Los Angeles Chargers
Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon
Devon Witherspoon could go much higher than this, but the Chargers get a steal and add Witherspoon to a cornerback room that’s already in good shape when everyone is healthy.
22. Baltimore Ravens
USC WR Jordan Addison
Whether or not Lamar Jackson stays in Baltimore, the Ravens need to continue to build their offensive supporting cast. Jordan Addison didn’t have the most explosive combine, but he’s a good football player that would give Baltimore some much-needed depth.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Michigan DL Mazi Smith
Mazi Smith didn’t workout at the combine, but he’s still a high-upside defensive tackle that would be a nice dice roll for the Vikings at this point in the draft.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Alabama CB/S Brian Branch
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 defense versatility they didn’t have a season before.
25. New York Giants
Georgia TE Darnell Washington
Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are back as Giants, and here they can add a player that helps both of them in Darnell Washington. Washington is a powerhouse blocker, especially in space, and has untapped receiving potential.
26. Dallas Cowboys
Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness
Lukas Van Ness has the potential to go a lot higher than this. He can be a long-term pass rusher to pair with Micah Parsons and in the immediate future gives them a third pass rusher along with Demarcus Lawrence.
27. Buffalo Bills
Tennessee OL Darnell Wright
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 pass-heavy offense.
28. Cincinnati Bengals
Ohio State OT Dawand Jones
The Bengals need a right tackle. Dawand Jones is the prototypical right tackle. Makes almost too much sense.
29. New Orleans Saints (via San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos)
Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy
Prospects slide down the board every year. Myles Murphy ends up as this year’s draft faller, but finds himself in a great situation where he can start immediately on a good defense.
30. Philadelphia Eagles
Texas RB Bijan Robinson
Christian Gonzalez and Bijan Robinson are one hell of a haul for the Eagles. Robinson cemented himself as the top running back in the draft with a strong performance in Indianapolis.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
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.
(One first-round pick was forfeited by the Miami Dolphins as a result of the NFL's tampering investigation.)
Teams without a first-round pick
37. Los Angeles Rams
Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs
Here’s a running back for the Rams to get back to actually being a good running team next season.
43. Cleveland Browns
Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt
Hyatt is a speedster wide receiver that would help the Browns create some more big plays next season. They’re locked in on Deshaun Watson, so they might as well make his life easier.
52. Miami Dolphins
Ohio State IOL Luke Wypler
Depth up front to help them in their quest to protect Tua Tagovailoa.
68. Denver Broncos (via Indianapolis Colts)
Stanford QB Tanner McKee
The Broncos find a quarterback to back up Russell Wilson.
100. San Francisco 49ers
Georgia S Chris Smith
A smart, tough safety that can play a multitude of spots in the 49ers defense.