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NFL mock draft 2023: Updated first-round projection after combine

Here’s our first round projection of the 2023 NFL Draft after the draft combine. The No. 1 pick has been traded to Carolina, get the full details of the trade here.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The NFL Combine has come and gone, and now teams are entering the final stretch of the NFL Draft preparation. The biggest decision makers for each franchise came to Indianapolis and not only watched draft prospects, but also to discuss the free agent class and possible trades as well.

Now that the Combine has ended, we have another mock draft for you, with free agency looming in the upcoming days.

Update: The Bears have traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers. The Bears move down to No. 9, while adding D.J. Moore, pick No. 61, a 2024 first rounder, and a 2025 second rounder. Read more at Windy City Gridiron.

Read our trade grades for the Bears and Panthers here. We’ll have a new mock draft with the Panthers picking at No. 1 on Monday. For now, here’s our post-combine mock.

Post-Combine Mock Draft

Pick Team Player Position College Year
Pick Team Player Position College Year
1 Indianapolis Colts (via CHI) Bryce Young QB Alabama Junior
2 Houston Texans CJ Stroud QB Ohio State Junior
3 Arizona Cardinals Will Anderson EDGE Alabama Junior
4 Carolina Panthers (via CHI) Anthony Richardson QB Florida Sophomore (RS)
5 Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) Jalen Carter DT Georgia Junior
6 Detroit Lions (via LAR) Christian Gonzalez CB Oregon Junior
7 Las Vegas Raiders Will Levis QB Kentucky Senior
8 Atlanta Falcons Tyree Wilson EDGE Texas Tech Senior
9 Chicago Bears (via CAR) Lukas Van Ness EDGE Iowa Sophomore (RS)
10 Philadelphia Eagles Devon Witherspoon CB Illinois Senior
11 Tennessee Titans Broderick Jones OT Georgia Sophomore (RS)
12 Houston Texans Myles Murphy EDGE Clemson Junior
13 Green Bay Packers (via NYJ) Brian Branch S Alabama Junior
14 New England Patriots Paris Johnson Jr. OT Ohio State Junior
15 Green Bay Packers Quentin Johnston WR TCU Junior
16 Washington Commanders Peter Skoronski OT Northwestern Junior
17 Pittsburgh Steelers Joey Porter Jr. CB Penn State Junior
18 Detroit Lions Nolan Smith EDGE Georgia Senior
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kelee Ringo CB Georgia Sophomore (RS)
20 Seattle Seahawks Jordan Addison WR USC Junior
21 Miami Dolphins FOREFITED
22 Los Angeles Chargers BJ Ojulari EDGE LSU Junior
23 Baltimore Ravens Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR Ohio State Junior
24 Minnesota Vikings Deonte Banks CB Maryland Junior (RS)
25 Jacksonville Jaguars Dawand Jones OT Ohio State Senior
26 New York Giants O'Cyrus Torrence OG Florida Senior
27 Dallas Cowboys Josh Downs WR North Carolina Junior
28 Buffalo Bills Darnell Wright OT Tennessee Senior
29 Cincinnati Bengals Darnell Washington TE Georgia Junior
30 New Orleans Saints (via SF) Keion White EDGE Georgia Tech Senior
31 Philadelphia Eagles Bijan Robinson RB Texas Junior
32 Kansas City Chiefs Derick Hall EDGE Auburn Senior
37 Los Angeles Rams Emmanuel Forbes CB Miss. State Junior
43 Cleveland Browns Tuli Tuipulotu DE USC Junior
52 Miami Dolphins Calijah Kancey DT Pittsburgh Junior
68 Denver Broncos Mazi Smith DT Michigan Senior
99 San Francisco Jayden Reed WR Michigan State Senior

What do the Bears do with the first pick?

Update: the Bears have traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers. The Bears move down to No. 9, while adding D.J. Moore, pick No. 61, a 2024 first rounder, and a 2025 second rounder. Read more at Windy City Gridiron.

It’s been clear from the moment the regular season ended: Chicago has the first overall pick, but they really don’t want to use it. Bears GM Ryan Poles is confident in the value of the first overall pick, and has told Peter King that he thinks he can get a first round pick in 2024 and 2025 from the top overall pick. With the value of each of the QBs rising, the Bears could end up getting some nice value from the top pick, to rebuild their franchise around QB Justin Fields.

However, the Bears could also be asking for too much. A 2024 and 2025 first round draft pick is investing a lot of future capital into a QB, and unless a team believes that they can win in the immediate future, those picks could be untouchable. Even though the value of each QB is rising, there is no consensus QB1 in this draft. The top QB on each teams’ board could vary, and the type of QB you want could differ from another. There’s a very real possibility that the Bears end up sticking with the top pick, but in this mock, the Colts go up and get their guy.

Alabama QB Bryce Young might be the most optimal fit for the Colts offense under Shane Steichen. In a shotgun-heavy offense, Young would be able to see the field better despite his height, and his quick timing and playmaking would be perfect for an RPO-based offense. The QB run game wouldn’t be nearly as heavy with Young at QB, but Steichen has worked with guys like Phillip Rivers before, so it’s not too crazy.

Houston stays at 2 and is able to pick up arguably the best pocket passer in the draft in Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. With Stroud’s ability to process and throw the ball with extreme touch and accuracy to the intermediate levels of the field make his fit in a Shanahan style, play action-based offense the best of any QB in the class. Houston might REALLY want Young, but Stroud is right behind him.

Now, Chicago is at 4 but then they trade back again with the Carolina Panthers, who come up and take Florida QB Anthony Richardson. We knew Richardson would test well, but testing historically great for the position was insane to see. Richardson has some ways to go with mechanics; his feet can get too far underneath him, causing him to lose accuracy, but his natural arm talent and his underrated processing ability and pocket navigation under pressure make him a tantalizing prospect. Pairing him with a QB guru like Frank Reich, with a developing offensive line and a star receiver in DJ Moore could help him the most in his development.

Kentucky QB Will Levis ends up with the Raiders at 7, where Josh McDaniels gets a big, strong armed prospect who can thrive in a traditional dropback setting. Levis has sort of an odd release, but it’s quick and when he gets his entire body lined up he can deliver balls with accuracy. His decision making might be an issue (he also tries to be the hero too much), but in Vegas he has the guiding hand of McDaniels, plus some guys named Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller to throw the ball too.

Here’s ultimately what the Bears ended up with:

Chicago trades: 2023 1st round pick(1st overall)

Indianapolis trades: 2023 1st round pick(4th overall), 2023 3rd round pick(79th overall), 2024 first round pick


Chicago trades: 2023 1st round pick(4th overall)

Carolina trades: 2023 1st round pick(9th overall), 2023 2nd round pick(39th overall), 2023 3rd round pick(93rd overall)

Chicago needed to accumulate picks, and with these trades they stay in position to get a top talent while gaining more shots at the dart board throughout the draft. They even got a 2024 first rounder out of it as well. Chicago ends up taking Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness here, a guy who fits the athletic profile of EDGEs Eberflus has coached in Indianapolis as their defensive coordinator.

Rodgers goes to the Big Apple

I think the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay is over. Yesterday, news broke that the Packers QB has been talking with the Jets and the Packers are allowing this to happen. With the Packers putting an emphasis on Jordan Love getting in-game reps as the next step in his development, the writing is on the wall for Rodgers to end up in New York.

Now, what kind of compensation would a QB like Rodgers get? Well we can take a bit from the Broncos trading for Russell Wilson and try and piece together what it could possibly look like. Last year, the Broncos traded three players, a 2022 and 2023 first round draft pick, a 2022 and 2023 second round pick and a 2022 fifth round pick to the Seahawks for Wilson and a 2022 fourth round pick. Rodgers is going to be 39 entering this season, so the Packers might not get the same amount that the Seahawks got for Wilson in sheer quantity, but the value of the picks Green Bay will get should look something like:

Green Bay Packers receive: 2023 first round pick (13th overall), 2023 second round pick (43rd overall), 2024 first round pick

New York Jets receive: QB Aaron Rodgers

With those picks in tow, the Packers now have enough to revamp their secondary and receiving corps, which they do by taking Alabama safety Brian Branch and TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston.

Making sense of the Jalen Carter situation

Georgia DT Jalen Carter is one of the best players in this entire draft class. His lateral quickness, power and explosiveness are rare, and his ability to be a gamewrecker is almost unparalleled in this draft class.

However, at the Combine, news broke that Carter was involved in the car accident that took the life of Georgia OL Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeRoy. Carter was found to be racing the car that led to the crash. Carter is facing charges of reckless driving and racing in connection with the crash. Carter has said that he will be exonerated, and is working with the police in the investigation.

How far Carter falls could potentially be dependent on the outcome of the investigation. If the charges are indeed true and Carter had involvement, his stock could tumble. For now, he only takes a slight dip to Seattle at 5.

Mock drafting for teams without a first-round draft pick

With draft picks being dealt like never before, there are five teams without a first-round pick that we wanted to give their fans something to read about. In this mock draft, the Rams get a replacement for Jalen Ramsey in case he is traded this year or next. The Cleveland Browns find a versatile defensive lineman in Tuipulotu while the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos catch falling defensive linemen due to size (Kancey) and lack of production in college (Smith).

The last team to have their first selection is the 49ers who grab an interesting receiver prospect in Reed a year before Brandon Aiyuk is set for free agency. Getting a player who can help produce right away at pick #99 is tough by John Lynch does so here.