NFL Draft 2023 mock draft: Our beat writers make their top-10 picks

Most years, a quarterback run isn’t a matter of if in the NFL draft, but when. From the looks of things, it could arrive as early as 2023.

That is, unless potential defensive prospects (and perhaps a few offensive tackles or skill position players) comment. With two weeks left in the regular season and the draft picture starting to come into focus, we asked our team of beat writers and draft experts how the top 10 prospects might play out. Texans go to QB in numbers. 1? Should the Seahawks or Lions be backed at that position as well?

Here’s our current best guess:

1. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Young’s size (listed at 6-foot-0, 194 pounds) is one reason there is no consensus top quarterback prospect in this draft. However, there is little debate that the Texans should address that position here. If Houston decides to start 24 at Davis Mills, it’s a very effective two-quarter offense Jeff DriskelThen again, Mills, a 2021 third-round pick, is clearly not the long-term answer.

The Texans and GM Nick Caserio aren’t afraid to act on conventional wisdom (see: last two head coaching hires), but I’m going with the relatively obvious choice here. Young draft expert Dane Brugler ranked the top job and no. A total of 3 hopes. – Aaron Reyes

2. Chicago Bears: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

If you listen to first-year Bears coach Matt Eberfuss, you should know how important the three-technique position is to the defensive scheme. Just last week, Eberflos described three techniques as “the engine that does it all.” Going over Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. isn’t easy, but Carter could be the engine for the Bears’ defense in the future. He’s a do-it-all offensive lineman in the mold of Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. They are actually from the same high school in Florida (Apopka). Carter is arguably the best player on the best team in college football and has been for the past two years. – Adam Jans

3. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos): Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama

The Seahawks are in desperate need of a game-changing pass rusher. They haven’t had a double-digit sack guy since Frank Clark in 2018. Outside linebacker Uchena Nwosu (nine sacks through 15 games) should reach that milestone before the year is out, but his mere presence hasn’t stopped Seattle from being mediocre. He comes to load the passenger. The Seahawks are desperate for a dominant edge to pair with Nwosu and are starting 35-year-old Bruce Irvin. He played well, to be fair, but the fact that they had to call Irvin out of bed to play 54 percent of the defense’s snaps speaks volumes for the importance of playmaking and playmaking ability on the edge. – Michael-Sean Duggar

4. Arizona Cardinals: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Since Kliff Kingsbury took over as head coach, only one of Arizona’s first-round picks has been spent on a player at a premium position (Kyler Murray, No. 1 in 2019). With a general manager change on the horizon, it’s time for the Cardinals to stop stockpiling high-value draft prospects, and Ringo is the best non-quarterback available here.

Over the past four seasons combined, Arizona ranks 25th in pass defense EPA, 29th in opposing passer rating, 28th in first downs on passes and 30th in touchdowns. Ringo gives this defense the lockdown cornerback that has been missing since Patrick Peterson’s senior years. It would also go a long way toward upgrading Byron Murphy with key/secondary options and fixing a defense that has struggled to overcome his path to success. – Diante Lee

5. Indianapolis Cubs: Will Lewis, QB, Kentucky

The Colts have to make a decision: Is Levis the top-tier quarterback prospect they were scouting earlier in his Kentucky career, or is he a 2022 contender? He looks the part: an example of size, arm strength and mobility. But that inconsistent tape may give some scouts pause. Levis lost his top target, most of his offensive line and offensive coordinator in 2022, but it’s worth noting that he only had one game with 250-plus yards in 15 starts against an SEC defense. Still, he has all the features, which is why he has been on the top-10 trend for some time. – Bob Kravitz

6. Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson

Everything in Atlanta hinges on Desmond Reeder’s progress over the last two games. If the starting quarterback shows he’s the man for the job through 2023 (at least), the Falcons shouldn’t add another young player at that position. Atlanta used a second-round pick (Arnold Ekibeti) and a third-round pick (DeAngelo Malone) on edge rushers last year, but it hasn’t helped much yet. While Ebiketie and Malone have made progress, Atlanta is still last in the league in sack percentage, at 3.9 percent. Only six teams have had a lower percentage over the past five years, one of which was last year’s Falcons (3.1 percent). Defensive backs and cornerbacks will be attractive here as well. – Josh Kendall

7. Detroit Lions (via Rams): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

This is… not a friendly board for the Lions. We would have been very happy if Ringo had been here, but he wasn’t. Murphy was an option, as was Clemson defensive end Brian Bracey. But the arrival of rookie James Houston has reduced the need for another pass rusher, and GM Brad Holmes remains high on DT Levi Onwuzuric, a 2021 second-round pick unable to stay healthy. There are no trade conditions here, so the lions are stuck. However, the corner is a clear and obvious need, so Gonzalez – who agrees with what defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn likes to do – is the choice. – Colton Pouncey

8. Carolina Panthers: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

A dire situation for the NFC South and despite the absence of a franchise quarterback, the Panthers remain in the playoff hunt. Sam Darnold is the third QB for Carolina this year, following Baker Mayfield and PJ Walker. And with Darnold playing better and guarding the ball — his four-game stretch is the longest of his career without a turnover — the Panthers should be in the QB market again. That could be difficult if they take the division, which drops the Panthers to 19th in the draft order (or if they win a playoff game).

The Panthers passed on Ohio State QB in 2021, Jayce Horn at no. 8 When Justin Fields is available. It is not inconceivable that they will make the same decision again. – Joe man

9. Las Vegas Raiders: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

We were challenged a bit by Florida QB Anthony Richardson. For all its physical prowess, however, it’s not accurate enough on short and medium routes.

Go deeper

Reed: Derek Carr is taking the fall, but the pressure is now on the Raiders brass.

Meanwhile, Smith checks all the boxes with his frame (6-1, 187 pounds), long arms, stick coverage, ball skills and positional versatility. Smith played outside, inside and even safety in college. Opposing teams have shunned him this season — he’s allowed just 15 catches for 184 yards on 32 targets — but the energy and leadership with which he plays still jumps out. – Vic Tafur

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints): Brian Bresee, DT, Clemson

The Eagles believe in building a line of scrimmage — 12 of the last 17 first-round picks either rush the passer or defend the QB — so he’ll be a good bet at linebacker. It would be tempting to go offensive technique here to find Lane Johnson’s eventual replacement, but Bracey is a plausible option. Brugler also had the Eagles take Clemson DT in no. 6 in the most recent mock draft, and for good reason. Pairing Brees with Jordan Davis would give the Eagles building blocks in the middle of their defensive line, which would be especially useful considering both Javon Hargrave (turns Feb. 30) and Fletcher Cox (32, effective Dec. 13) are pending free agents. Agents.

Bracey didn’t necessarily have the best production at Clemson and tore his ACL in 2021, but he has the rare type of physical and athletic profile for a former top recruit. He also brings the versatility to the scheme to play in different lineups for the Eagles. – Zach Berman

(Example: Sean Riley/ The athletics;
Photos: Jay Biggerstaff, Kevin C. Cox, Todd Kirkland, / Getty Images)


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