It’s that time of year again when the college football season rewinds and the sport’s top contenders rise to the pro ranks, with the annual crop of players heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.
To that end, mock draft extraordinaire Mel Kiper, Jr. got to work and provided a first look at how this year’s draft might fare in the first round.
More: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board: Ranking of the top 50 prospects
There are many of the usual names at the helm, with two top-tier SEC defense contenders on the market, in addition to two high-profile quarterbacks looking to get high picks in the first round.
And as always, there are some questionable picks that will leave football fans scratching their heads as they watch the best predictions.
1. Bears: Jalen Carter
Position: Defensive tackle
What Kyper says: “Chicago’s roster needs help from top to bottom, but their defense was particularly terrible, finishing last in the league in sacks and points allowed per game. Carter, an explosive inside pass rusher and run stuffer, gets the nod… He’s the best player in the draft.”
Scouting report: “Blessed with rare athleticism, a lightning-fast first step and violent hands, the Bulldogs’ defensive tackle makes a living in the opponent’s backfield.” – NFL Bible Draft
2. Texans: CJ Stroud
School: State of Ohio
What Kyper says: “He’s extremely accurate, can take any shot and has excellent touch at all levels of the field.”
Scouting report: “Knowing that Stroud is first in, last out and has all the intangibles that NFL decision makers have come to expect in a franchise quarterback – head coach Ryan Day has praised his work ethic and professional approach to the game on a daily basis.” – NFL Bible Draft
3. Cardinals: Will Anderson, Jr.
Position: Edge rusher
What Kyper says: “Anderson was a tackle-for-loss machine in college, dominating offensive tackles in both the running and passing games. Sometimes unblockable.”
Scouting report: “One of the most nervous and fastest pass rushers we’ve seen coming off the edge in quite a while. His ability to convert speed into power, along with his flexion and athleticism, allows him to use a range of moves to get there as the quarterback.” — NFL Bible Draft
4. Stallions: Bryce Young
What Kyper says: Young is a fast processor with a world-class feel for the pocket and how to move and find your target… Spread the offense and watch him toss darts to Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce.
Scouting report: “A smart and accurate passer who doesn’t force shots and rarely makes mistakes. He’s not the size of a prototype, but sees the field very well, has shown natural feel in the pocket, and can shove the ball into the field with a simple flick of the wrist.” – NFL Bible Draft
5. Seahawks: Will Levis
What Kyper says: “Turn on his tape and you’ll see some bad interceptions and questionable decisions. But you will also see missiles that should have been intercepted and tight throws that no other passer in this class can make.”
Scouting report: “You will find that everything is ultra-fast. A fast offensive based on quick reads and quick decisions. Levis gets rid of the ball in a hurry, and it’s the high-octane scheme that many NFL teams try to emulate.”
Rounding out the top 10
6. Lions: Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech: “The top true defensive end in this class…can use his burst on snap to beat offensive tackles on passing downs or use his frame to hold up against the run.”
7. Robber: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwest: “Could move to guard or right tackle at the next level. He only allowed one sack in 2022… An immediate starter for a redesigned offense.”
8. Hawks: Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson: “A perfect defenseman who had 17.5 sacks in three seasons … could even step inside to fight on passing downs.”
9th Panthers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida: “I wouldn’t play Richardson the first year. He needs time to develop. He’s not an NFL-eligible pitcher. But he is impressively Talent, a raw quarterback who would be one of the most electrifying runners in the league.”
10. Eagles: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh: “Wreaked havoc the last two seasons, amassing 13.5 sacks when set up as a defensive tackle, most in the country.”
2023 NFL Draft Order
From Championship Sunday
You can see the rest of Kiper’s mock draft here: Mel Kiper’s Mock Draft 2023
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