Now that the Bears have locked up the first-overall pick, the conversation will be about if they'll consider a quarterback. They shouldn't, and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who is also our partner on the "With the First Pick" podcast, addressed why they should seriously consider trading down instead.
We took our own advice in this mock draft and had the Bears trading down to No. 4, allowing the Colts to move up for ... quarterback Will Levis. That will be controversial, no doubt, and we get why. Levis had a forgettable 2022 campaign at Kentucky, but NFL teams really like him, and as the old saying goes, it only takes one. And if Colts owner Jim Irsay is convinced that Levis is the next in line after Manning and Luck, then guess what's going to happen?
In case you're wondering, here's the compensation we came up with (remember: this is neither hard nor fast, and it may cost considerably more to move up just a few spots because trade-value charts go out the window when it comes to trading up for a quarterback): the Colts gets No. 1; the Bears gets, Nos. 4, 36, 80, and a 2024 second-rounder.
Chicago moves down three spots ... and still comes away with Jalen Carter, whom we had them taking first overall in our last mock draft. And in the process, they stockpile picks, which allows them to plug as many holes as possible in an effort to protect Justin Fields.
Meanwhile, the Texans take a quarterback at No. 2, while the Raiders move up two spots, from No. 7 to No. 5 to get their quarterback of the future. The cost? Las Vegas gets No. 5, while Seattle gets No. 7 and No. 71 to drop two spots. If you're wondering why the Raiders might consider moving up, it'll be because of concerns about the Panthers sitting in the No. 9 spot, and whether owner David Tepper will aggressively try to move up for one of the top passers.
Of course, David Carr is going to be starting somewhere other than Vegas next season, and that could obviously impact what teams decide to do in the draft -- including the Panthers and possibly the Jets, and to a lesser extent, the Commanders, who now appear open to giving Sam Howell a shot at the job.
As always, thanks to all of you for the comments, thumbs up, and kind words regarding our new endeavor, the "With the First Pick" podcast. Appreciate all the feedback and remember: we'll be live every Monday at 2 p.m. ET on the Pick Pix YouTube channel, and you can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
As we get closer to the draft, we'll expand to several shows a week with CBS Sports NFL Draft analysts Josh Edwards, Chris Trapasso and Emory Hunt, as well as other folks in the CBS Sports family. You can follow me on Twitter at @ryanwilsonCBS for updates and reminders.
Remember: there are only 31 selections in this mock draft because the Dolphins were stripped of their first-round pick due to tampering.
Mock Trade from Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 1
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • Sr • 6'4" / 229 lbs
Levis, who definitely looks the part, was plagued by injuries and poor play all fall. That said, NFL teams love how he projects to the next level but he'll be a controversial talking point for the next six months. Either way, if owner Jim Irsay thinks Levis is the guy to turn things around in Indy, it's easy to imagine that he will spare no expense to go get him.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 204 lbs
Bryce Young might be historically undersized by successful NFL QB standards, but we don't care. He was that good for Alabama, dragging that team to victory just about every week. And he did it with none of the playmakers who made life so much easier for Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones in previous years.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 253 lbs
Will Anderson Jr. could very easily be the No. 1 pick in this draft -- and he very well may be now that the Bears hold that selection -- but the Cardinals land the elite pass rusher here after a forgettable season that could see a lot of changes in the coming months.
Mock Trade from Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 4
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 314 lbs
The Bears appear to be a team headed in the right direction, in large part because they've found their franchise QB in Justin Fields. But there's a lot of work to do on the other side of the ball after moving on from Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith. Both Carter and Anderson could be options should Chicago stay put at No. 1 and both are layup selections. Or the team could choose to trade out of the top selection should their be interest from QB-needy teams looking to move up.
Mock Trade from Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 5
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 214 lbs
With Derek Carr set to be somewhere else in 2023, drafting a QB seems to be a high priority -- enough so that in this mock we have Vegas moving up before the Panthers do. Stroud has flown under the national-media radar all season but some NFL teams will tell you he'll be in the running for QB1, and his performance in the semifinal game vs. Georgia showed that he can beat you with his arm and his legs.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 6
Myles Murphy DL
Clemson • Jr • 6'5" / 268 lbs
Murphy won't be 21 until next spring and while we'd like to see him play with more consistency ... he won't be 21 until next spring. On top of that, when he's on, he's hard to stop, which makes him such an interesting prospect.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 7
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • Sr • 6'6" / 271 lbs
Wilson is a high-motor player who consistently finds his way into the backfield. He's still raw but the physical tools are there and when he puts it all together he is going to be a problem.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 193 lbs
Porter Jr. is the prototypical big, physical cornerback who looks like he belongs in the NFL. He can sometimes get a little too handsy downfield, but he checks many of the boxes of what teams look for when drafting DBs.
Round 1 - Pick 9
TCU • Jr • 6'3" / 208 lbs
With three QBs off the board already, this is worst-case scenario for the Panthers. And with needs at EDGE rusher, Jared Verse's decision to return to school doesn't help them here either. So instead, they bolster the WR room for whomever ends up as the team's 2023 QB. Johnston's an above-the-rim playmaker whose athleticism and contested-catch abilities make him WR1 at this point in the proceedings.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 10
Ohio State • Jr • 6'6" / 313 lbs
Johnson Jr., who played left tackle for the Buckeyes this season, also has experience on the interior; either way, he is a Day 1 starter, which in Philly could be at guard early in his career before moving to tackle when Lane Johnson decides to hang them up.
Round 1 - Pick 11
USC • Jr • 5'11" / 173 lbs
Addison isn't a big target, but he's one of the most dynamic players in the country who can line up anywhere. The Titans offense has been stagnant at times, and adding a downfield threat will be at the top of the offseason to-do list.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 12
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 313 lbs
Skoronski is solid and consistent, which are two of the best things you can say about an offensive lineman. The biggest issue he'll face during the pre-draft process will be arm length and whether his NFL future is at tackle or guard.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 244 lbs
Typically, NFL teams give QBs taken in the first round three years to prove themselves. It sure feels like Zach Wilson, who was benched for Chris Streveler in Week 17, may not be long for the Jets, no matter what coach Robert Saleh might say publicly. And if that is, in fact, the case, Richardson would be worth considering here. He is one of the most exciting prospects in this class. Yes, he's short on experience, but his physical tools are rare.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Jones has had a strong '22 campaign for the Bulldogs, where he has faced some of the best defensive players in the country every day at practice for the last two years.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'5" / 249 lbs
Mayer is more Gronk than Kelce but that's not a bad thing. And in Green Bay, the team will need to reup Robert Tonyan or he's headed for free agency. And even if he returns, Mayer is a solid blocker and a reliable downfield target, which is good news for Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love or whomever the QB is behind Door No. 3.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Kelee Ringo CB
Georgia • Soph • 6'2" / 207 lbs
The Georgia-to-first-round pipeline continues. A year after five Bulldogs went in Round 1, expect a handful this time around, too. Ringo is a long, physical corner who has matched up against some of the best players in the country.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Illinois • Jr • 6'0" / 181 lbs
Witherspoon had a great season for the Illini, and while there will be questions about his slight frame, you wouldn't know it to watch him play.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Oregon • Soph • 6'1" / 197 lbs
Gonzalez, a Colorado transfer, is a big-time athlete who is still growing into the position. He has the size, strength and speed to line up against NFL wide receivers; he just needs to improve in run support.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Texas • Jr • 5'11" / 215 lbs
The Bucs could target a QB here but have other needs to address. RB isn't a huge priority with Rachaad White's emergence, but the team could move on from Leonard Fournette and plug in Robinson, who was dominant for the Longhorns this season.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Florida • Jr • 6'5" / 330 lbs
Torrence transferred from Louisiana and didn't miss a beat. He's been dominant for Florida and is a plug-and-play player at the next level.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
There was some thought that Harrison might return to Oklahoma for an NIL deal that was too good to pass up but he's instead opted for the NFL. He's one of the top tackles in the class and now the question is whether he finds his way into Round 1 or goes early on Day 2.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Nolan Smith EDGE
Georgia • Sr • 6'2" / 238 lbs
Smith is listed at just 235 pounds so he'll need to add weight, but he's also scratching the surface on what he'll be able to do at the next level. He suffered a torn pec in November and his season is over, but that shouldn't affect his NFL future.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Brian Branch CB
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Branch isn't the first name you hear about when the conversation turns to Alabama's defense, but maybe he should be. He's a sure tackler, can blitz off the edge, and is solid in coverage, and if Nick Saban trusts him, that's all you need to know about his NFL prospects.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Cam Smith CB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'1" / 180 lbs
The Jags have some dudes along the defensive line and who line up at safety, but they need to continue to bolster the cornerback position. Smith is a first-round talent who can be a Day 1 contributor.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 196 lbs
Smith-Njigba barely saw the field during the 2022 season because of injuries but he's still one of the top wideouts in the class. And with Daniel Jones about to get paid, the Giants might as well get him some more weapons.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Jalin Hyatt WR
Tennessee • Jr • 6'0" / 176 lbs
Hyatt wasn't in the first-round conversation heading into the season but he's a great example of a player taking advantage of his opportunities, thanks in large part to Hendon Hooker's Heisman Trophy campaign. Hyatt is a bona fide deep threat who consistently stacks defensive backs who have been helpless to do much about it all season.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Georgia • Jr • 6'7" / 264 lbs
Washington is listed at 6-7, 265 pounds (he actually plays bigger than that), and while he's growing into his role as a receiver, he's essentially another offensive tackle when he's inline. The Bengals will only have one TE under contract after the season and Washington would serve the dual role of both receiver and blocker in Cincy's offense.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 29
Drew Sanders EDGE
Arkansas • Jr • 6'4" / 235 lbs
Sanders is a former five-star prospect who transferred from Alabama after the 2021 season, and all he did is show out for the Razorbacks. He was an edge rusher for the Crimson Tide but lined up all over the defense for Arkansas, and he was a one-man wrecking crew when he was on the field.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Utah • Sr • 6'4" / 246 lbs
The rich get richer; Dalton Kincaid could end up being one of the best rookie offensive weapons in 2023, especially if he lands in Buffalo, where he'd be part of an explosive offense.
Round 1 - Pick 31
BYU • Jr • 6'8" / 302 lbs
Blake Freeland hasn't gotten a lot of buzz with the draft media, but he's been one of the most consistent college offensive linemen over the last three years -- and over that time he's given up exactly one sack. He might be more likely to go in Round 2, but don't be surprised if you hear his name a lot in the coming months.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Jahmyr Gibbs RB
Alabama • Jr • 5'9" / 199 lbs
The Eagles haven't taken a RB in the first round since 1986 (!) but we said the same thing about Andy Reid and RBs right until the moment he selected Clyde Edwards-Helaire a few years ago. And while CEH may not be the best example of why Philly might consider a back here, Gibbs has drawn comparisons to Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara as both a runner and a receiver. He essentially be yet another weapon for Jalen Hurts in this offense.