The 2023 NFL mock draft season is in full swing and that means it’s time for an updated mock from ESPN analyst Todd McShay. We take a look at who he has grabbing quarterbacks and which pick we like best and least in his 2-round mock.
The biggest shakeup to the quarterback portion in this mock is a trade between the No. 4. Indianapolis Colts and the No. 3 Arizona Cardinals. This trade blocks any other team from trading with the Cardinals to skip the Colts.
We know that the Bears and the Texans are going to take a quarterback and it looks likely that Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud will be those two players. What order they go in is still a mystery, but Stroud is who McShay has slotted for the Panthers at No. 1, while the Texans take Young.
McShay has the Colts making the jump to secure Anthony Richardson. The Colts, with new head coach Shane Steichen, are in need of a shakeup and Richardson has all the talent in the world. The questions surrounding his ability to read defenses and protections while staying accurate are real, but there’s no doubt he can be molded and Steichen just helped Jalen Hurts become an MVP candidate.
Maybe an even bigger surprise for the QBs in this mock are the Buccaneers trading with the Patriots from 19th to 14th to grab Kentucky QB Will Levis. The Bucs probably are the neediest QB team in the league outside of The Panthers, Texans and Colt, so it makes sense that they’d take a swing at the strong armed Levis. Their evaluation of him will be key for a trade like this to happen, but it does make sense.
First defensive player taken
The Cardinals still get their first pick of defensive players despite trading, and McShay has them taking OLB Will Anderson out of Alabama. Questions about Georgia DT Jalen Carter’s readiness for his pro day and legal trouble seemingly have taken him out of the running to be the No. 1 defensive pick, but McShay has the Seahawks taking him at No. 5 overall. I expect McShay is correct and Carter doesn’t slip all that far.
The Dallas Cowboys smartly didn’t pay Dalton Schultz and instead should address the tight end position in the draft. This is a good year for the position and McShay has them taking Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer. With the addition of Brandin Cooks and the already dynamic CeeDee Lamb in the fold, Meyer could quickly become a key target for Dak Prescott underneath on a team with playmakers at all the offensive positions.
Bijan Robinson to the Lions makes a lot of sense on the surface, but I am squarely in the anti-first round running back camp. Robinson is a special talent and he will make a team better in the short term, but the odds of him staying healthy and being worth a second and even third contract are small. If this draft were weak at the RB position it might make more sense, but there are plenty of players that can be grabbed in the second and third rounds that can pair with D’Andre Swift to cobble together a Robinson clone with four legs, two hearts, etc...
This mock drafts feels pretty solid. Everyone will have something to quibble about of course, but McShay lays out good reasoning for his picks at the very least. Much will depend on what happens to the QB position after the first two picks and just how coveted Richardson is. We saw Malik Willis fall much further than expected last draft, but Richardson is a unicorn and it will be tough for teams to pass on his ability this year.