The 2023 NFL Draft is three weeks away and there are plenty of routes this year’s draft could take. We do have one big move already in the books, with the Panthers moving up to the top spot after trading with the Bears. That move solidifies quarterback with the No. 1 pick, but with Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Stafford and now Mac Jones along with who knows else, could be up for draft day moves.
NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein has embraced chaos in his latest mock draft, especially at the QB position.
The winds have changed for the No. 1 pick, as most sportsbooks now have CJ Stroud as the favorite to go to the Panthers following their trade with the Bears. And both ESPN draft analysts, Todd McShay and the guy with the hair have both changed their mocks, moving Stroud ahead of Young. But Zierlein still believes Young is the guy.
And with Young going to the Panthers at No. 1, Zierlein has the Texans zigging instead of zagging by picking EDGE rusher out of Texas Tech, Tyree Wilson, with the second pick. That move leaves Stroud available for another team to trade up to grab Stroud and the Ravens do just that by trading Lamar Jackson to the Colts for their fourth overall pick, while the Texans then trade with the Raiders for the No. 7 slot to take QB Will Levis.
Then the final QB shoe drops when the Patriots snag Anthony Richardson with the 14th overall pick and deal Mac Jones in the meantime. Of course, the odds of this happening exactly like this are slim, but with a talent like Jackson out there, anything can happen.
First defensive player taken
Like most of the NFL mocks out there right now, Zierlein has OLB Will Anderson going to the Cardinals with the second defensive pick at third overall, as the Texans took Wilson with the No. 2 pick instead of Stroud. DT Jalen Carter doesn’t fall far, being selected by the Seahawks with the fifth overall pick.
The question here is, why didn’t the Cardinals trade out of the third spot with multiple teams likely wanting to trade up to grab Stroud? Anderson is of course a nice consolation prize though.
The Patriots getting Anthony Richardson at No. 14 is a much needed pick for a stale Patriots offense. He’s a wild card to be sure, but Bill Belichick could use him well early on while developing him. Belichick needs something to get his creative juices flowing again and Richardson is the perfect catalyst.
I usually look at where Bijan Robinson is mocked here, as I consider the RB position to usually be a weak first round pick. But, I do like the win-now Bills getting him at pick 23, even though they do have to trade up to do so. Instead, I’ll move to the Bengals going with tight end Luke Musgrave here. I believe this draft is full of tight ends that are worth taking later, while the Bengals need to help out Joe Burrow with more help up front or find defensive players that can slow down Patrick Mahomes.
This is a pretty crazy mock to be sure, but it does alert us to the real possibility that a player like Lamar Jackson could be on the move and tear up the whole system. I do think the Texans would take Stroud if they can’t have Young, but that’s just my opinion. The Colts are likely the team to watch to make a splash during the draft though, and it would make a lot of sense to give new head coach Steve Streichen a chess piece like Jackson to start his tenure.