Roughly half of the 2023 NFL Draft order is in place so prepare to see the same projections for the next four months. There is going to be significant conversation about how the top five is going to shake out given the Chicago Bears' position at No. 1 overall and the unlikelihood that they take a quarterback. Will someone jump Houston to take the first quarterback or will the Texans have their choice at No. 2 overall?
Those scenarios and more are discussed in today's thought exercise.
The draft order below is now the official order based on team records and tiebreakers. There is not a No. 22 overall pick here, as that's the pick the Dolphins forfeited due to tampering violations.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
For more extensive draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our new weekly podcast, "With the First Pick," featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. (Check out the latest episode below.)
Round 1 - Pick 1
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 253 lbs
The Bears finished dead last in sack production this season. They need a difference-maker off the edge and Anderson certainly fills that void.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 204 lbs
Houston finds a leader for its program in Young. Young is a diminutive signal-caller who has the ever important "it" factor. He willed Alabama to victories even when it was not living up to the standard.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 314 lbs
The shortest path to the quarterback is from the interior defensive line. There are multiple ways to generate pressure and the Cardinals should be able to apply more over the ball with Carter next season.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • Sr • 6'4" / 229 lbs
Indianapolis is faced with a decision between C.J. Stroud and Levis. When you explore the physical skill sets that the Colts have started since general manager Chris Ballard has arrived, it has been more of the big pocket passers. Will a new head coach prefer a different style?
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 5
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 214 lbs
Geno Smith may have earned a spot on the roster next season but it is still difficult to envision the Seahawks bypassing a chance to take a potential franchise quarterback only to extend a playoff window with a 32-year-old quarterback that has predominantly been a journeyman to this point in his career.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 6
Myles Murphy DL
Clemson • Jr • 6'5" / 268 lbs
Murphy is the best player on the board in my opinion and the gap between the next tier of talent is noticeable. Edge rusher may not be the franchise's biggest need but the roster does not exclude the position from consideration.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 313 lbs
The Derek Carr era appears to be over in Las Vegas. Will the Raiders reach for a talent like Anthony Richardson at No. 7 overall? In this scenario, they choose to upgrade protection and build before plugging in the quarterback.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • Sr • 6'6" / 271 lbs
Arnold Ebiketie is an intriguing young player who is still developing into a three-down player. Wilson gives them significant length and juice opposite him. Wilson is still a work in progress as well but there may not be another available player with a higher ceiling.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 244 lbs
Carolina comes across as desperate to land a viable long-term quarterback option. Richardson has a very high ceiling but there are going to be some growing pains on the elevator ride up.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 10
Texas • Jr • 5'11" / 215 lbs
Positional value aside, Robinson is one of the most gifted talents in the entire draft class. Few blue-chip talents are left and Philadelphia plucks one off the board to replace Miles Sanders at the end of his contract.
Round 1 - Pick 11
TCU • Jr • 6'3" / 208 lbs
Tennessee adds Johnston to the receiving room to pair with Treylon Burks. It seems as though Ryan Tannehill is trending toward being the starting quarterback again next season without a viable replacement on the horizon.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 12
Bryan Bresee DL
Clemson • Soph • 6'6" / 298 lbs
Bresee was the No. 1 overall recruit coming out of high school. He has been through significant adversity in his life but those moments are there to overcome and grow. When looking for a player who has natural talent to nurture in the middle stage of the first round, Bresee is on the short list.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson and Alabama safety Brian Branch are a couple players who New York would probably love to have with this pick, but the Jets could be in a position to replace both starting offensive tackles this offseason. If they feel as though Max Mitchell is someone who can be relied upon at right tackle, then the door creaks open for the Jets to select one of those aforementioned defenders.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Clemson • Jr • 6'2" / 235 lbs
Bill Belichick adds a linebacker capable of playing sideline to sideline, in addition to clouding pass lanes.
Round 1 - Pick 15
USC • Jr • 5'11" / 173 lbs
Georgia tight end Darnell Washington has been a personal favorite in this spot for a few weeks. The Packers obviously have an affinity for Bulldogs after taking two in the first round a year ago. Addison would be a good complement to the vertical threat that is Christian Watson.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 193 lbs
Washington plays a good mixture of man and zone coverage so Porter is a better option for its defense than some of the other options.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Ohio State • Jr • 6'6" / 313 lbs
Pittsburgh's offensive line has shown improvement throughout this season but Johnson is a more sustainable option at left tackle to block for Najee Harris and protect Kenny Pickett.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Oregon • Soph • 6'1" / 197 lbs
Detroit adds length along the boundary as the Lions build out a rotation on the back end with Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs. The NFC North franchise plays the third-most man coverage in the league.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Brian Branch CB
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Tampa Bay drafts an extension of Nick Saban on the football field to get younger and cheaper in the secondary. Branch is a versatile, productive player who often finds himself around the football.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'5" / 249 lbs
Mayer gives Seattle more size and another outlet for C.J. Stroud.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Georgia • Jr • 6'7" / 264 lbs
Jacksonville adds another pass-catching outlet for Trevor Lawrence. Washington is also able to make an impact in the run game.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Illinois • Jr • 6'0" / 181 lbs
New York adds an intelligent cornerback to play in Wink Martindale's system. The Giants have overachieved this season but they need more talent to take the next step.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Jalin Hyatt WR
Tennessee • Jr • 6'0" / 176 lbs
Los Angeles adds speed in the form of Hyatt to stretch opposing defenses and open up the field for Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Kelee Ringo CB
Georgia • Soph • 6'2" / 207 lbs
Some teams may view Ringo as a safety at the next level but he should test well in Indianapolis.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Nolan Smith EDGE
Georgia • Sr • 6'2" / 238 lbs
Smith gives Cincinnati some juice off the edge to pair with Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 196 lbs
Minnesota adds Smith-Njigba to pair with Justin Jefferson. Adam Thielen finished top 50 in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, so there is plenty left in the tank, but Smith-Njigba gives the Vikings a big-time No. 3 who can develop into that secondary role when Thielen moves on.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 29
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'2" / 198 lbs
Johnson joins a Denver secondary that already has Patrick Surtain II and Justin Simmons. The new Broncos head coach has a lot to work with on arrival.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Florida • Jr • 6'5" / 330 lbs
Buffalo adds to its offensive line to protect Josh Allen.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Jahmyr Gibbs RB
Alabama • Jr • 5'9" / 199 lbs
Kansas City adds another dynamic weapon on the offensive side of the ball. Gibbs is a fantastic pass catcher who will keep defenses on their toes.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Felix Anudike-Uzomah EDGE
Kansas State • Jr • 6'3" / 255 lbs
Philadelphia's defensive front is aging so it is imperative to keep adding pieces and have a plan moving forward.