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Todd McShay 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis Land in Top 6

Adam WellsDecember 13, 2022

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - NOVEMBER 26:  Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after their 49-27 win over the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Based on the current order for the 2023 NFL draft, ESPN's Todd McShay is projecting three of the first six picks will be quarterbacks.

In his latest mock draft released Tuesday, McShay has Alabama's Bryce Young going No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans. He projects the Detroit Lions will use the No. 4 pick on Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, with Kentucky's Will Levis going to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 6.

Young's size has become a talking point as we get closer to the draft, but McShay cited several other areas in which the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner excels that make him an elite NFL prospect.

"Scouts will knock Young's frame (he's listed at 6-foot), but there is no debating his high-level processing ability, excellent ball placement to all three levels of the field and mobility when forced to go off schedule," McShay wrote. "He has regularly lifted a lackluster offensive supporting cast in Alabama this season, and he can do it again with the Texans."

The Texans' roster is in such dire straits they could almost go in any direction, and it would make sense. But having the No. 1 pick in a year when it looks like there are multiple quarterbacks worth taking at that spot should make their decision easier.

The Lions face a potentially interesting dilemma. They have put themselves into playoff contention with five wins in their last six games. Jared Goff is playing at a high level with 3,352 passing yards and 22 touchdowns and is surrounded by a wealth of talent on offense.

If the Lions want to ride with Goff, who has two years remaining on his contract, they could look to add help to a defense that is allowing the second-most points per game (26.7).

But the Lions are also playing with house money right now because the No. 4 pick they have is from the Los Angeles Rams as part of the Matthew Stafford trade. They also have their own pick, which is currently at No. 16 overall.

If Stroud is the second-best quarterback in the class and is on the board when the Lions make their first pick, why not take the shot? He will be walking into a situation with a great offensive line to protect him and wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams on the outside.

Levis and the Falcons are an interesting pairing because we're still waiting to see what Desmond Ridder can do in head coach Arthur Smith's offense.

Ridder was the second quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL draft at No. 74 overall. He is set to take over as Atlanta's starter in Week 15 against the New Orleans Saints.

Even though it will only be a four-game trial run for Ridder, the team could alter its draft plans if he shows the talent that made him the top-ranked quarterback in the 2022 class for some draft analysts.

McShay noted Levis "still needs some developing, especially when it comes to decision-making, but the traits are outstanding."

It seems unlikely Levis will make it out of the top 10 at this point. Despite a lackluster senior season with 2,406 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, his skill set is proving to be tantalizing for NFL teams.