2023 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Nation's Elite Prospects

Joe TanseyJanuary 4, 2023

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Nation's Elite Prospects

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    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 31: Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass during the second quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats at Caesars Superdome on December 31, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    The Houston Texans will have a franchise-altering decision to make if they secure the top pick in the 2023 NFL draft in Week 18.

    Houston will get to choose between Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud with the No. 1 overall pick.

    The Texans need to lose to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday or match the result of the Chicago Bears to secure the top selection.

    Young and Stroud both impressed in their final auditions at the collegiate level in the Sugar Bowl and Peach Bowl respectively.

    The Texans will break down every intricacy of the two quarterbacks over the next four months to ensure they have the right guy to lead the franchise forward into a new era.

    The Chicago Bears do not need a quarterback with Justin Fields already on the roster.

    They will sit in an enviable position if they lock up the No. 2 seed. They could either trade down with a team that needs a quarterback or select the best non-quarterback in the draft class, which could be Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter.

2023 NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl College Football Playoff Semifinal game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Georgia Bulldogs on December 31, 2022, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    1. Houston: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

    2. Chicago: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

    3. Seattle (from Denver): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

    4. Arizona: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

    5. Indianapolis: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

    6. Detroit (from L.A. Rams): Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

    7. Atlanta: Kelee Ringo, DB, Georgia

    8. Las Vegas: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas A&M

    9. Carolina: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

    10. Philadelphia (from New Orleans): Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

    11. Tennessee: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

    12. Houston (from Cleveland): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

    13. New York Jets: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

    14. Washington: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

    15. Pittsburgh: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

    16. Green Bay: Christian Gonzalez, DB, Oregon

    17. Detroit: Cam Smith, DB, South Carolina

    18. Miami (forfeited)

    19. Seattle: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

    20. Jacksonville: O'Cyrus Torrence, OT, Florida

    21. Tampa Bay: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

    22. New England: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

    23. New York Giants: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

    24. Baltimore: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

    25. Los Angeles Chargers: Clark Phillips lll, DB, Utah

    26. Cincinnati: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

    27. Minnesota: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

    28. Dallas: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

    29. Denver (from San Francisco): Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

    30. Buffalo: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

    31. Kansas City: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

    32. Philadelphia: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

Texans Likely Choosing Quarterback

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    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 31: Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass during the second quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats at Caesars Superdome on December 31, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Houston will get to decide between Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud as its next franchise quarterback.

    The Texans can either go with a Heisman Trophy winner in Young that led Alabama to the National Championship Game last season, or Stroud, who put up massive totals at Ohio State with some of the game's best wide receivers.

    Young could hold the slight edge because of his pocket presence and the success he had at Alabama.

    The knock on Stroud will be that he did not win a Big Ten title or beat Michigan in his time in charge of the Ohio State offense.

    Houston needs to move on from its Davis Mills-Jeff Driskel QB situation. One of those players could be a decent backup, but neither can be a starter for the team in 2023.

    The Texans also have the Cleveland Browns' first-round pick that they can use to either add offensive help for the new QB or bolster a porous defense that can help a rookie QB win games.

    Houston might even have its choice of QBs at No. 2 if the draft order goes that way in Week 18 since Chicago should be focused on defense.

Bears Need Defensive Help

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    DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 01: Head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears looks on during the second half in the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on January 01, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
    Nic Antaya/Getty Images

    Chicago faces an equally tough decision as Houston when it comes to taking the best defensive player on the board.

    Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter is a menace on the interior and he could plug up the middle for a decade in Chicago.

    The Bears could also go after Will Anderson from Alabama, who could be the franchise's next great linebacker.

    Matt Eberflus and his staff have to discuss if they value a run-stuffing interior presence or a pass-rushing linebacker to be the cornerstone of their defense.

    Carter could get the slight nod because of how the Bears have to defend in the NFC North against Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook and D'Andre Swift.

    The Bears could also opt to trade down from their selection. A handful of teams will need a quarterback and they could seek a trade up to No. 2 to secure they have their signal-caller of the future instead of waiting for him to fall to them.

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