Draft week is upon us! The 2023 NFL Draft is only a few days away, and that means the heavy-hitters are dropping their final mock drafts ahead of Thursday’s first round. The week opens with Peter King’s annual mock draft at Pro Football Talk. He talks with as many people around the league as anybody in NFL media, so his mock always draws a little extra attention.
King opened his mock by noting how uncertain things are this year. The No. 1 pick seems fairly settled, but everything else is pretty wide open. King believes that is due to having nine of the top 11 teams going into the draft with a coach or GM in their first or second year. Additionally, the QB situation has grown more and more confusing amidst reportedly rising and falling stock for Will Levis and C.J. Stroud.
It all could make for a wild Thursday.
King opens like most mocks with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young going No. 1 overall to the Panthers. While C.J. Stroud has been slipping in a lot of mock’s, King goes big with him, projecting a Titans trade with the Cardinals at No. 3 to draft the Ohio State quarterback. He is hearing the Titans have lost faith in Malik Willis, which feels a bit quick considering he was a third-round pick only a year ago.
He goes back-to-back at the QB position, projecting Will Levis to the Colts at No. 4. He wraps the first with two more quarterbacks to give him five total. He projects Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker to the Texans at No. 12 and Florida’s Anthony Richardson to the Vikings at No. 23.
First defensive player taken
King goes off script a bit at the No. 2 pick as he projects the Texans to select Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson. King acknowledges Will Anderson would likely get the vote as the better prospect, but he points to Wilson as potentially fitting a Nick Bosa-type mold more than Anderson. I wonder if he is overthinking this one because of DeMeco Ryans. The consensus mock is never fully right, so anything’s possible, but if the Texans don’t go quarterback at No. 2, Anderson seems the more likely option.
Notably, Anderson slips to the Lions at No. 6 after the Seahawks go with Georgia’s Jalen Carter. Given the legal issues that have come up, Carter seems as much a wild card in the top ten as the quarterbacks.
In his write-up on Anderson, King quotes a GM in the edge rusher market as saying, “Tyree Wilson’s a swing for the fences. Will Anderson’s a solid double.” How often does that often lead to a fired GM down the road?