With the wild-card round of the 2022-23 NFL playoffs about to finished with six teams losing and getting eliminated from Super Bowl 57 contention, it’s time to expand Sporting News’ first-round mock draft.
Following the projections from No 1 through No. 18 overall involving the non-playoff teams, here’s going 23 deep with the picks this week with six exiting teams joining them.
The Dolphins forfeit their first-rounder after losing to the Bills as part of their league-imposed punishment for tampering, but the Seahawks, Chargers, Vikings, Ravens and Buccaneers all are now already on the clock. Here’s what they might all do with their picks, based on the updated draft order:
NFL mock draft 2023
1. Chicago Bears
- Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama (6-4, 235 pounds)
The Bears, picking first overall for the first time since 1947, shouldn’t need to consider QB with the passing and running ceiling of big-armed Justin Fields. The ideal scenario is trading down for extra first-down selection power with a team looking to jump the Texans for a particular franchise QB. If the Bears stay, they should look to get familiar defensive pop.
Getting this cornerstone pass rusher and active all-around playmaker is great call. Anderson would give them a new Khalil Mack after also saying goodbye to Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith on the second level.
2. Houston Texans
- Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (6-0, 194 pounds)
The Texans, after seeing there’s no solution between Davis Mills and Kyle Allen, quarterback must be the pick right away. Although they are no longer guaranteed to select their QB of choice, they must first answer the question of whether they prefer Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Here’s thinking early that Young, with the pedigree that’s helped Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones become NFL starters, will provide the right combination of passing upside and little bust factor based on his intangibles and proven production.
3. Arizona Cardinals
- Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (6-3, 310 pounds)
The Cardinals also would have an easy pick to make here with J.J. Watt retiring and Zach Allen heading into free agency. Carter is a dominant, disruptive force made to make a lot of plays as an NFL base 3-4 end. He possesses Watt-like upside with pass-rush potential.
4. Indianapolis Colts
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (6-3, 215 pounds)
The Colts’ reward for an absolute QB mess between Matt Ryan, Nick Foles and Sam Ehlinger in the final abbreviated season under Frank Reich is being bad enough to get in position to stop recycling veteran QBs. They can land Stroud, a smart pocket passer with the right accuracy and intangibles to thrive as their true delayed franchise replacement for Andrew Luck.
5. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos)
- Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (6-5, 275 pounds)
The Seahawks, after being eliminated in the wild-card round by the 49ers, should be thinking about boosting their defensive front seven with their extra higher first-rounder. Murphy has a great combination of explosiveness and instincts to maintain his pass-rush production in Pete Carroll’s scheme.
6. Detroit Lions (from Rams)
- Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia (6-0, 205 pounds)
The Lions got some improved play from 2020 first-rounder Jeff Okudah in coverage but struggled to find other answers on the perimeter. Ringo has the mentality they need as he translates his size well into physical, aggressive play.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina (6-0, 188 pounds)
The Raiders also would be in play for a quarterback here with Derek Carr set to be replaced, or they could look for more offensive skill help for Josh McDaniels’ replacement veteran QB (Tom Brady?). But they also should about corner help with oft-injured Rock Ya-Sin heading into free agency and Nate Hobbs suited best for the slot. Smith is a physical, explosive cover man for his size with the potential to become more polished, well-rounded and consistent.
8. Atlanta Falcons
- Isiaah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame (6-4, 257 pounds)
The Falcons must invest in revving up their 3-4 pass rush and Foskey can fit the bill with his powerful, explosive and technically sound game. He also has the potential to become more well-rounded for the NfL as he further develops as a run defender.
9. Carolina Panthers
- Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (6-3, 232 pounds)
The Panthers need to clean up their QB situation after going from Baker Mayfield to P.J. Walker before circling back to Sam Darnold in a run-heavy offense. Levis represents a solid pocket passer with the arm, accuracy and quick release to thrive with the right support system.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints)
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson (6-3, 225 pounds)
The Eagles should need to replace pending free agent Kyzir White and Simpson would be the ideal addition to support T.J. Edwards and Haason Reddick, both coming off terrific regular seasons. Simpson would complement them with his tough, speedy playmaking vs. run and pass.
11. Tennessee Titans
Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State (6-6, 310 pounds)
Left tackle Taylor Lewan is 31 and has dealt with major knee injuries in two of the past three seasons. Fill-in Dennis Daley is a free agent. The Titans can get Johnson to pair nicely with fellow former Buckeye Nicholas Petit-Frere as the near future bookends.
12. Houston Texans (from Browns)
- Jordan Addison, WR, USC (6-0, 175 pounds)
The Texans need to pair a dynamic pass-catcher with their new franchise QB. Addison has a nice blend of field-stretching speed and after-the-catch quickness to quickly develop into the go-to guy for Young.
13. New York Jets
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State (6-0, 197 pounds)
The Jets love Garrett Wilson, but they went cold on Elijah Moore and Corey Davis has had too many availability issues in two seasons. The team can get out of Davis’ contract and find a another long-term starter to pair with Wilson. Smith-Njigba can follow Wilson and Chris Olave (Saints) as a prized Buckeyes prospect with his speed, quickness and route-running.
14. New England Patriots
Quinton Johnston, WR, TCU (6-4, 215 pounds)
The Patriots need to try again to get a bona fide No. 1 wideout for the sake of Mac Jones with Jakobi Meyers and others heading into free agency and DeVante Parker not being reliable with his health ahead of his Age-30 season. Johnston is ideal size-speed prospect for the outside in the vein of Mike Evans and Mike Williams and also offers route-running savvy and good hands.
15. Green Bay Packers
- Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (6-4, 251 pounds)
Mayer is a matchup-nightmare creating receiver at his position and can fit in nicely with fellow big-play youngsters Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs at wideout. Robert Tonyan is a pending free agent and the Packers could use a special kind of athletic target to help Aaron Rodgers stretch the middle of the field to replace Randall Cobb.
16. Washington Commanders
Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson (6-5, 300 pounds)
Daron Payne is a pending free agent and the Commanders should look for a new complement to Jonathan Allen to help Chase Young and Montez Sweat up front. Bresee offers good technique and nimble feet as a run-stopper and also can boost the inside pass rush.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
- Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern (6-4, 315 pounds)
Dan Moore Jr. has been one of the league’s shakiest left tackles, especially in pass protection. The Steelers need a long-term rock in front of Kenny Pickett’s blind side and Skoronksi can deliver with his smooth quickness and athleticism on the edge.
18. Detroit Lions
Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech (6-6, 275 pounds)
The Lions could use a rangy bookend for 2022 No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson. Wilson is explosive and versatile for his size, capable of playing multiple impact positions along a front seven.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU (6-0, 190 pounds)
The Buccaneers tried to get some reliable No. 3 returns for Tom Brady behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin with first Russell Gage and then Julio Jones. But both former Falcons battled injuries and Jones, Scotty Miller and Breshad Perimman are all pending free agents. Should Tampa Bay work to convince Brady to stay, Boutte would be a versatile option as the last standout Tiger, with a good blend of perimeter field-stretching and inside route toughness.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M (6-3, 195 pounds)
Ryan Neal had a fine all-around season playing next to Quandre Diggs, but he may leave as a free agent and also missed time with a knee injury. Johnson offers similar size, range and pop for run support and can also raise the Seahawks’ playmaking quotient in coverage.
21. Miami Dolphins (pick forfeited)
22. Los Angeles Chargers
Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon (6-3, 250 pounds)
The Chargers could use someone to clean up against the run better and also need to worry about the pending free agency for inside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Drue Tranquill. They can look up the coast to Sewell and welcome his reliable tackling and playmaking vs. the run plus high upside in coverage.
23. Baltimore Ravens
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia (6-3, 235 pounds)
The Ravens took Odafe Oweh as a 2021 first-rounder but he’s disappointed a bit as they needed to rely a lot on aging Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Houston, both soon-to-be 34-year-old free agents. Smith is coming off a season cut short by a pectoral injury, but when healthy he offers great speed on the pass rush, to the point, he can also cover good ground vs. the run and in coverage.
24. Minnesota Vikings
- Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State (6-2, 198 pounds)
The Vikings need to give Cam Dantzler better help on the back end with Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan heading into free agency. They could use some of Porter’s size, speed and physicality to make more plays on the ball in coverage.