The NFL combine is over and the sprint to the 2023 NFL Draft is in full swing. Some players have really seen their stock rise with strong performances in Indianapolis and we’re getting closer to the first pick in the draft being distributed.
The beginning of this false draft? The host town of the combine is going up to get its future franchise quarterback.
In this scenario, the Colts send the fourth pick, 35th pick, 106th pick, and their 2024 first-round selection to the Bears in exchange for the right to select their new franchise savior. CJ Stroud probably solidified himself as the best quarterback in the draft with a near-perfect combine workout.
Anthony Richardson put in an outstanding performance in this year’s combine and perhaps cemented himself as one of the top five potential picks. The Texans will adopt the Shanahan system in Houston under new offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, and Richardson gives them a super-athletic QB to make it work. That wouldn’t stop the team from signing a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo, leaving them in a much better position than last season.
Arizona badly needs a passing thrower if Jonathan Gannon is to have a successful first season as the team’s head coach. Anderson had a combined workout that matched the tape and profiles as the next level standout rusher. Elite prospect for a team that really needs a player in this position.
4. Chicago Bears (via Colts)
Jalen Carter’s “slide” ends here. Carter has plenty of questions to answer about his role in a tragic and fatal car crash in January, but top-notch players are hard to come by. The Bears are taking a risk on an elite talent here.
Tyree Wilson has the build of a superstar edge rusher, something the Seahawks have the luxury of grabbing here with the pick they received from the Broncos in the trade of Russell Wilson.
The Lions have plenty to be excited about, but they’re still missing their future franchise quarterback. There are concerns about Bryce Young’s size, but at this point in the draft, he’s a worthy draft pick.
The latest quarterback for a team with perhaps the biggest quarterback question right now. The Raiders wouldn’t be players for Lamar Jackson or Aaron Rodgers, so Will Levis, come on. Of course, that makes sense.
It looks like the Falcons are going to let Kaleb McGary hit free agency, opening a huge hole at right tackle. Anton Harrison is a talented young offensive tackle who has the potential to start alongside All-Pro Chris Lindstrom for a long time in Atlanta.
Nolan Smith’s play is a bit of a throw, but it’s hard to find point defenders running a 4.3 40-yard dash. Smith paired with Brian Burns would give the Panthers a ton of speed on the edge.
The rich get richer. Christian Gonzalez looks like a slam-dunk cornerback prospect for a team that doesn’t have too many needs on paper. Gonzalez would give the Eagles a locking corner to partner with their defensive line.
Out with Taylor Lewan, with Peter Skoronski. He may not have the ideal arm length to play left tackle, but his flick should allay most concerns about his game.
A high-flying wide to go along with their new franchise quarterback at Richardson. Quentin Johnston is a bit raw, but he has the size and athleticism to be an impact player early on as he develops his game for the professional level.
This pick is a bit of a projection with Duane Brown deciding he’ll return for another season in the NFL, but Paris Johnson would give the Jets a little youthful insurance at offensive tackle – assuming they even have that pick once the Aaron Rodgers saga is coming to an end.
Like most Georgia players, offensive tackle Broderick Jones had a rock star performance at the combine. The Patriots could use some offensive tackling skills, and Jones is a good bet to end up as a quality starter.
Whether or not Aaron Rodgers stays in Green Bay, the Packers need to add some more receiver talent. Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be a perfect fit for Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs as they continue to get younger at wide receiver.
16. Washington Commanders
O’Cyrus Torrence isn’t a pretty player, but he’s shaping up to be a plug-and-play starter for a team that needs to keep adding offensive line talent.
The Steelers could add talent at cornerback here with the best offensive tackles off the board. Joey Porter Jr. would obviously feel right at home in Pittsburgh and fill a valuable role in their defense.
18. Detroit Lions
Deonte Banks made some money showing up at the combine this year. Banks ticks all the boxes from a physical standpoint and would give the Lions some badly needed pass defense help.
Mayer didn’t have the most outstanding combine, but he didn’t perform badly and still projects to be the first tight end on the board. The Buccaneers have yet to figure out their quarterback situation, but Mayer can help whoever they decide to start right away.
20. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have their quarterback, now they can focus on adding more talent for Geno Smith to succeed. Here they get a player who would pair well with DK Metcalf long term in Zay Flowers.
Devon Witherspoon could go a lot higher than that, but the Chargers get a steal and add Witherspoon to a corner room that’s already in good shape when everyone else is healthy.
Whether or not Lamar Jackson stays in Baltimore, the Ravens must continue to build their offensive supporting cast. Jordan Addison didn’t have the most explosive combination, but he’s a good football player who would give Baltimore some much-needed depth.
Mazi Smith hasn’t practiced at the combine, but he’s still a high-potential defensive tackle who would be a good dice-roller for the Vikings at this stage of the draft.
Brian Branch is a steal at this point for the Jaguars, sliding straight into the nickel on their defense. Branch would give the Jaguars defensive versatility they didn’t have a season before.
Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are back as Giants, and here they can add a player who helps them both in Darnell Washington. Washington is a powerful blocker, especially in space, and has untapped receiving potential.
Lukas Van Ness has the potential to go much higher than that. He can be a long-term pass thrower to partner with Micah Parsons and gives them a third pass thrower in Demarcus Lawrence in the immediate future.
Darnell Wright is another talented player in this class of offensive tackle. Wright is fresh off the combine and has a ton of experience on the Tennessee offense.
The Bengals need a good tackle. Dawand Jones is the prototypical right tackle. It almost makes too much sense.
Prospects slide across the board every year. Myles Murphy finds himself as a dropout in this year’s draft, but finds himself in a great spot where he can start right away on good defense.
30. Philadelphia Eagles
Christian Gonzalez and Bijan Robinson are big booty for the Eagles. Robinson established himself as the top running back in the draft with a solid performance at Indianapolis.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Kelee Ringo finds himself as the final first-round pick this year, but it’s hard to pass up his talent and production in a high-impact position at this point.
(A first-round pick was lost by the Miami Dolphins following the NFL tampering investigation.)
Teams without first-round picks
37. Los Angeles Rams
Here’s a running back for the Rams to be a good running team again next season.
43. Cleveland Browns
Hyatt is a speedster wide receiver who would help the Browns create even more big plays next season. They’re locked on Deshaun Watson, so might as well make his life easier.
52. Miami Dolphins
Depth in the front to aid them in their quest to protect Tua Tagovailoa.
68. Denver Broncos (via Indianapolis Colts)
The Broncos find a quarterback to support Russell Wilson.
100. San Francisco 49ers
A smart, tough safety that can play a multitude of places in the 49ers defense.