With the wildcard round of the 2022-23 NFL Playoffs nearing completion and six teams losing and eliminated from Super Bowl 57 competition, it’s time to expand Sporting News’ first-round mock draft.
After projections of No. 1 through No. 18 overall involving the non-playoff teams, this week the picks go deep by 24, with five exciting teams joining them, with either the Cowboys or the Buccaneers make six on Monday night.
The Dolphins lose their first-round winner after losing to the Bills as part of their league-imposed tampering penalty, but the Seahawks, Chargers, Vikings and Ravens are all already on the clock now. Here’s what they could all do with their tips, based on the updated draft order:
BIG BOARD: Ranking of the top 75 prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft
NFL Mock Draft 2023
1. Chicago Bears
- Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama (6-4, 235 pounds)
The Bears, who picked first place overall for the first time since 1947, shouldn’t have to consider QB with the big-armed Justin Fields’ passing-and-running blanket. The ideal scenario is to trade for additional first-down picking power with a team looking to skip the Texans for a particular franchise’s QB. If the Bears stay, they should try to get familiar defensive pop.
Getting this key pass rusher and active all-around playmaker is a great decision. Anderson would give them a new Khalil Mack after also saying goodbye to Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith on the second level.
MORE: Breakdown of Bears’ best options for #1 pick
2. Houston Texans
- Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (6-0, 194 pounds)
After the Texans saw there was no solution between Davis Mills and Kyle Allen, the quarterback must be the pick immediately. While they are no longer guaranteed to pick their QB of choice, they must first answer the question of whether they prefer Ohio State’s Young or CJ Stroud. Our early thoughts are that Young, with the pedigree that helped Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones become NFL starters, will offer the right combination of passing upside and low bust factor given his intangibles and proven performance .
MORE: Breakdown of Texans’ best options after missing No. 1 pick
3. Arizona Cardinals
- Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (6-3, 310 pounds)
The Cardinals would also have an easy pick here, with JJ Watt retiring and Zach Allen going free. Carter is a dominant disruptive force created to make many plays as the NFL grassroots 3-4 end. It has a Watt-like top with pass-rush potential.
4. Indianapolis Colts
CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State (6-3, 215 pounds)
The Colts’ reward for an all-out QB mayhem between Matt Ryan, Nick Foles and Sam Ehlinger in the last shortened season under Frank Reich is bad enough to put them in position to stop the recycling of veteran QBs. They can land Stroud, a savvy pocket passer with the right accuracy and intangibles to succeed as their true delayed franchise replacement for Andrew Luck.
MORE: Breakdown of players, picks involved in one-way trade with Russell Wilson
5. Seattle Seahawks (by Broncos)
- Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (6-5, 275 pounds)
The Seahawks should consider bolstering their defensive front seven with their extra-high first-rounder after being eliminated by the 49ers in the wild card round. Murphy has a great combination of explosiveness and instinct to maintain his pass rush production in Pete Carroll’s scheme.
6. Detroit Lions (by Rams)
- Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia (6-0, 205 pounds)
The Lions got an improved game from 2020 first-rounder Jeff Okudah in coverage but struggled to find other answers on the sidelines. Ringo has the mentality they need as he translates his size well into physical aggressive play.
7. Las Vegas Robbers
Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina (6-0, 188 pounds)
The Raiders would also be in the game for a quarterback here, with Derek Carr set to be replaced, or they could look to more offensive ability for Josh McDaniels’ backup veteran QB (Tom Brady?). But they should also help the often-injured Rock Ya-Sin, who goes free, and Nate Hobbs, who is best suited to the slot. Smith is a physical, explosive cover man for his size, with the potential to become more polished, well-rounded, and consistent.
- Isiaah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame (6-4, 257 pounds)
The Falcons need to invest to accelerate their 3-4 pass rush, and Foskey may be just the ticket with his powerful, explosive, and technically sound play. He also has the potential to become more versatile for the NfL as he develops as a running defender.
9. Carolina Panther
- Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (6-3, 232 pounds)
The Panthers need to clean up their QB situation after switching from Baker Mayfield to PJ Walker before returning 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 (by Saints)
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson (6-3, 225 pounds)
The Eagles should need to replace upcoming free agent Kyzir White, and Simpson would be the ideal addition to support TJ Edwards and Haason Reddick, who are both enjoying excellent regular seasons. Simpson would complement them with his hard, fast playmaking versus running and passing.
11. Tennessee Titans
Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State (6-6, 310 pounds)
Left tackle Taylor Lewan is 31 and has had serious knee injuries in two of the last three seasons. Fill-in Dennis Daley is a free agent. The Titans can get Johnson to pair well with his former Buckeye Nicholas Petit-Frere as near-future bookends.
12. Houston Texans (by 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 mix of field stretching speed and after-the-catch quickness to quickly become Young’s go-to guy.
13. New York Jets
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State (6-0, 197 pounds)
The Jets love Garrett Wilson, but Elijah Moore and Corey Davis have had too many availability issues in two seasons. The team can get out of Davis’ contract and find another long-term starter to pair with Wilson. Smith-Njigba can follow Wilson and Chris Olave (Saints) as a valued Buckeyes contender with his speed, quickness and route running.
14. New England Patriots
Quinton Johnston, WR, TCU (6-4, 215 pounds)
The Patriots must try again to get a true No. 1 wideout for the sake of Mac Jones, with Jakobi Meyers and others going free and DeVante Parker unreliable with his health ahead of his season at the age of 30. An ideal size-speed outsider prospect in the style of Mike Evans and Mike Williams, Johnston also offers savvy routes and good hands.
15. Green Bay Packers
- Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (6-4, 251 pounds)
A matchup nightmare, creating receivers in his position, Mayer fits in well with fellow players Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in the wideout. Robert Tonyan is an outstanding free agent, and the Packers could use a special kind of sporting goal to help Aaron Rodgers expand the center 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 be looking for a new addition to Jonathan Allen to help Chase Young and Montez Sweat move forward. Bresee offers good technique and nimble feet as a run stopper and can also boost the inner frenzy of passing.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
- Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwest (6-4, 315 pounds)
Dan Moore Jr. was one of the shakiest left tackles in the league, especially in pass protection. The Steelers need a long-term rock in front of Kenny Pickett’s blind side, and Skoronksi can deliver on the edge with his smooth speed and athleticism.
18. Detroit Lions
Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech (6-6, 275 pounds)
The Lions could use a fine bookend for 2022 overall No. 2 Aidan Hutchinson. Explosive and versatile for his size, Wilson can play multiple hitting positions along a front seven.
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (losing to Cowboys)
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU (6-0, 190 pounds)
The Buccaneers attempted to make 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 were struggling with 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 mix of perimeter field stretch and inside route toughness.
Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M (6-3, 195 pounds)
Ryan Neal had a good all-around season alongside Quandre Diggs, but he can go as a free agent and also missed time with a knee injury. Johnson offers similar size, reach, and pop for run support, and can also increase 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 better clean up against the run and also have to deal with upcoming free agency for inside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Drue Tranquill. You can look up the coast at Sewell and applaud his reliable tackling and playmaking off the run, as well as his high coverage.
23. Baltimore Ravens
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia (6-3, 235 pounds)
The Ravens took Odafe Oweh as their 2021 first-rounder, but he’s a little disappointed as they’ve had to rely heavily on aging Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Houston, both soon-to-be 34-year-old free agents. Smith has had a season cut short by a chest injury, but when he’s healthy he offers great speed in the pass rush, to the point, he’s also good against the run and in cover.
24. Dallas Cowboys (losing to Buccaneers)
- Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (6-0, 215 pounds)
This is something Jerry Jones would definitely do if he decides not to re-sign Tony Pollard after his breakout season and terminates Ezekiel Elliott’s contract ahead of his season at the age of 28. Robinson is a three-function jack-of-all-trades to get Dallas considering an upgrade from his prolific committee with fresher legs from Austin.
25. Minnesota Vikings
- Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State (6-2, 198 pounds)
The Vikings need to do more to help Cam Dantzler in the backend as Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan go free. They could use some of Porter’s size, speed and physicality to make more plays on the ball in cover.