The Panthers are reportedly between C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young, and while Stroud has wowed throughout the draft process and is the more prototypical NFL QB, Young has been the better signal-caller over the past two seasons. Frank Reich has worked with almost exclusively tall QBs since becoming a head coach, but he makes an exception with Young.
The Cardinals probably want to trade out of his spot to gather more draft capital, but I don’t see any top-10 teams that could be interested in a QB (Seahawks, Raiders, Falcons) making the move up. Instead, Arizona adds potentially the safest player in this class in the uber-productive Will Anderson Jr.
New Colts head coach Shane Steichen just spent the past two seasons developing Jalen Hurts, making it seem like Anthony Richardson would be the pick here instead of Will Levis. Richardson, one of the most athletic QB prospects in NFL history, also has the most upside of any signal-caller in this class.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Tyree Wilson work out at the NFL Combine or his pro day as he recovers from an injury, but the measurables are elite and the production was eye-opening over the past two seasons. By adding Wilson to go along with free agent signings Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed, Seattle will have done a solid job remaking its defensive line.
Jalen Carter has had legal issues and a disappointing pro day, but he’d be a perfect fit in the middle of the Lions’ defensive front. Dan Campbell and Co. bet on being able to get the most out of the supremely talented defender out of Georgia.
With Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert in the division — in addition to offensive genius Sean Payton — the Raiders need as much help as they can get defensively. And with Carter gone, Las Vegas turns to improving the secondary. Christian Gonzalez has all the tools to develop into a No. 1 CB.
The Falcons have combined to record 39 sacks over the past two seasons — by far the lowest in the NFL. Signing Kaden Elliss (seven sacks in 2022) was a good start, but they need more. Lukas Van Ness’ size and explosiveness will present immediate problems to opposing offensive tackles.
Ideally, one of Wilson, Carter or Van Ness would have fallen to No. 9. That didn’t happen, but the Bears get a worthy consolation prize in Paris Johnson Jr. Coming off an impressive pro day, the Ohio State standout has the makings of being the No. 1 offensive lineman in this class.
What a luxury it is to add a top-10 pick to a defense that finished last season with 70 sacks — the third-most in NFL history. Nolan Smith, who dealt with an injury in the fall, helped himself a ton by putting up massive numbers at the NFL Combine. He’ll be able to learn from the trio of Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham so that he can make the most of every opportunity he’s given.
There have been signs the Titans are interested in taking a QB. They’ve reportedly had private meetings with three of the top prospects, and while head coach Mike Vrabel said he expects Ryan Tannehill to be the starter in 2023, he didn’t commit to him. In this scenario, Will Levis can learn behind Tannehill while Tennessee figures out what to do with 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis.
The Jets have a lot of questions along the offensive line. By way of his versatility, Peter Skoronski would provide a lot of answers. With Aaron Rodgers headed to town, New York needs to find the best combination of five blockers to protect him. The unanimous All-American would help the team accomplish just that.
Sure, the Patriots need a tackle, but they also need to make sure their defense is as stout as possible. After all, they’ll have six combined games against Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa (and his lightening fast receivers), and Aaron Rodgers (presumably). What Devon Witherspoon lacks in size, he makes up for in physicality, instincts and versatility. He’d be a big addition to the New England secondary.
The Packers lost Robert Tonyan to the Bears. They’ll likely lose Aaron Rodgers’ buddy, Marcedes Lewis, to the Jets. That leaves Green Bay very thin at tight end, so it selects the best all-around player at the position in this class in Michael Mayer.
With the Buccaneers worried about the Steelers going offensive lineman, they jump three spots to find their Donovan Smith replacement in Broderick Jones, who has the potential to end up as this draft class’s best tackle.
The Steelers have taken a first-round cornerback just once since 1997 (Artie Burns), but this just makes too much sense. Joey Porter was a great player for Pittsburgh, and the team is very thin at the position. Oh, and Joey Porter Jr. is a darn good player in his own right, equipped with the traits and physicality to thrive in the secondary.
Adding Darnell Washington would do a lot of good for the surging Lions offense. Not only would he open holes for the dangerous duo of D’Andre Swift and David Montgomery, but he’d also be a great red zone option for Jared Goff, taking a lot of attention off Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Protecting Sam Howell will be paramount as the 2022 fifth-round pick attempts to establish himself as QB1 in Washington. The team addressed that with a few free agency signings, and it does so again with the best interior offensive lineman in this class. O’Cyrus Torrence will be solid from Day 1.
The Seahawks first strengthen the defense with Tyree Wilson, and then they give NFL Comeback Player of the Year Geno Smith another playmaker at receiver. Jordan Addison as a No. 3 wideout? Opponents are going to have a tough time stopping the USC standout in addition to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
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The Chargers are pretty strong at a lot of positions, allowing them to be flexible with what position they take. The explosive and versatile Myles Murphy would provide great depth to go with Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.
The Jaguars need more playmakers on defense, and Drew Sanders was a one-man wrecking crew at Arkansas this past season. He’ll be able to line up in a bunch of different spots to maximize the unit’s potential.
Bijan Robinson is too talented to fall this far, but if that happens, he’d be a great fit in Dallas. He and Tony Pollard would give the Cowboys the best running back duo in the league to further aid Dak Prescott.
With DaQuan Jones, Ed Oliver and Tim Settle all set to become free agents after the 2023 season, the Bills plan ahead by taking Bryan Bresee. While he did not have the year many were hoping for at Clemson, he has all the tools to be a consistent disruptor on the interior.
The Eagles find their C.J. Gardner-Johnson replacement in Brian Branch. He did a little bit of everything with Alabama and excelled in almost every facet, so working with Darius Slay and James Bradberry in the secondary should make Philadelphia even more stout defensively.