1- Houston Texans – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE/Linebacker
The Houston Texans have many holes to fill on their roster, so they need to go with the best player available. Will Anderson Jr. is a foundational building block to any franchise. Anderson Jr. has a unique mix of strength, quickness, change of speed, and patience that makes him a can’t miss prospect. Davis Mills has been up and down, but it’s still too early to decide if he can be the Texans’ long-term solution at quarterback. Many draft experts believe the 2024 quarterback class is better than 2023, so if Mills struggles, Houston will be in the top five of the 2024 NFL Draft to select a quarterback. For now, fans should get excited that they have the next Micah Parsons like impact player on their team.
2- Seattle Seahawks- C.J. Stroud, Quarterback
The Seahawks can’t just keep Geno Smith at quarterback, and the position should be a top priority. Stroud is the best quarterback in the class with his accuracy, ability to stay calm under pressure, and how well he reads defenses that lead to him throwing with anticipation. Stroud will be able to come in and lead the offense right away. With receivers like DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Stroud will be able to maximize their strengths.
3- Pittsburgh Steelers – Jalen Carter, Defensive Tackle
The Steelers would have to consider going quarterback if they are selecting this early, but in this scenario, they decide to give Kenny Pickett a full season to prove himself. The Steelers have never been afraid to grab the guy they think is the best available, regardless of position. Jalen Carter has been arguably the most dominant player in college football over the past two seasons. He stood out on Georgia’s National Championship defense that produced five first round players in 2022. Cam Heyward is still playing at a high level, but is 33, and Larry Ogunjobi is on a one-year contract. Carter gives Pittsburgh a true Stephon Tuitt replacement, and he and DeMarvin Leal can carry on their dominant interior for another decade.
4- New York Jets – Bryce Young, Quarterback
Zach Wilson hasn’t played awful, but he has struggled with consistency and availability. The New York Jets have shown flashes of competitive play, and head coach Robert Saleh is working to change the culture in New York. Bryce Young doesn’t have the strongest arm, and isn’t the fastest, but he knows how to win games and expose weaknesses in defenses. Even though the Alabama signal caller isn’t at the top of his draft class with his physical traits, he can still make all types of throws and can beat defenses with his feet. The Jets will be able to get a good return via trade for Wilson as he still has upside, but New York will not pass up on Young.
5- Atlanta Falcons – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver
The Falcons could look to go quarterback here, but with Stroud and Young off the board, why not see what Desmond Ridder has. If Ridder isn’t it, then they can gear up for a quarterback in 2024 knowing they have surrounded that quarterback with the best talent around him. Drake London and Kyle Pitts have been a decent duo so far, adding Jaxon Smith-Njigba would further elevate this group. Smith-Njigba is a great route runner who understands how to gain instant separation off the line. That type of talent will greatly help a young quarterback.
6- Tennessee Titans – Myles Murphy, Defensive End
The Titans are about to enter a full-scale rebuild and could use talent all over the field. If Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud were available they would likely pull the trigger, but since they are not, Malik Willis will gets a chance to be the quarterback of Tennessee’s future. Myles Murphy has everything scouts look for in an edge prospect with his power and athleticism. He is best player available and gives the Titans a much needed youth infusion on the defensive line.
7- Chicago Bears – Paris Johnson Jr., Offensive Line
The Chicago Bears have done Justin Fields a disservice since they drafted him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. There has been a lack of talent surrounding Fields, coaching instability, and offensive scheme challenges. Chicago’s front office can make a step in the right direction by adding his former teammate in Paris Johnson Jr. The Ohio State Buckeye standout offensive lineman will bring versatility to the Bears offensive line. Johnson Jr. has started at both guard and tackle during his time in Columbus and excelled. He is strong, but also has some finesse to game his as well, and will instantly help protect Fields.
8- Detroit Lions- Will Levis, Quarterback
The Lions are an extremely gritty team that embraces a physical style of play. Levis perfectly fits that mold. Levis has the arm talent to accurately reach all levels of the field while throwing through tight windows. He also has experience running a pro-level offense. In 2021, his offensive coordinator was Liam Coen, who came from the Los Angeles Rams. He operated that system well and has continued to improve even further this season to be the third quarterback taken. His 6’3, 232 pound build allows him to leave the pocket and gain extra yardage running it himself downfield, and is extremely difficult to tackle. Levis seems like a Dan Campbell guy.
9- New England Patriots – Joey Porter Jr, Cornerback
Joey Porter Jr. has been a shutdown corner this season for Penn State. His length and athleticism are obvious on tape, but his aggressiveness in coverage and run defense is what sets him apart. His physical tools are unlike anything the Patriots currently have in their cornerback room. The AFC East has receivers like Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Garrett Wilson. The Patriots need reinforcements in their secondary, and Porter is the J.C. Jackson replacement Bill Belichick is looking for.
10- New York Giants – Jordan Addison, Wide Receiver
Daniel Jones has shown flashes that he is the franchise quarterback for the New York Giants, so it’s time for the front office to support him. The Kenny Golladay experiment has been an absolute failure. Jordan Addison is the big play, down the field receiver Jones needs. Addison has elite speed, a large catch radius, and can make defenders miss after catching the football. This will be a home run draft selection for the Giants.
11- Las Vegas Raiders – Broderick Jones, Offensive Line
Has Derek Carr looked great? No, but that will happen when it’s three games in, and you’ve already faced 26 pressures, 11 quarterback hits, and eight sacks. Not only has the offensive line not been great at pass protection, they have also not been efficient in creating lanes to establish a run game. Broderick Jones helps in both of those areas. During the National Championship Game, Jones faced Will Anderson and held up extremely well due to his strong grip combined with his leg drive to move him back. His explosiveness off the line helps extremely well in the run game, and his athleticism allows him to create space at the second level as well. Jones will massively help the Raiders offensive line.
12- Carolina Panthers – Anthony Richardson, Quarterback
The Carolina Panthers have been trying to find their Cam Newton replacement for several years now, to no success. They tried the free agent route with Teddy Bridgewater, the trade route with Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, and now the draft route with 2022 third rounder Matt Corral. Matt Rhule will likely be fired after this season, and the new regime will want to select their franchise quarterback. Corral still has the potential to be the guy in Carolina, but a mid-round pick will not stop them from taking a player with the upside of Richardson. He has been compared by many to Newton, and has shown flashes of being the best quarterback prospect in the class. Richardson has prototypical size at 6’4 231 pounds, 4.4 speed, and a cannon arm. His inconsistent decision-making and shaky mechanics are causes for concern, but the traits are special and worthy of a first round pick.
13- Philadelphia Eagles – Antonio Johnson, Safety
As Jessie Bates was holding out during the offseason, rumors surfaced that Howie Roseman was interested in adding Bates to complete the Philadelphia Eagles secondary. The Eagles’ front office wants to acquire a safety to complete their secondary, and Antonio Johnson is the missing piece. Johnson already has 38 tackles in just four games for Texas A&M. He uses his 6’3 frame to cover the field and consistently closes quickly to make tackles on ball carriers. The Eagles will have the best secondary in football if they draft Johnson.
14- Indianapolis Colts – Devin Leary, Quarterback
This pick comes with the thought process in mind that the Colts have added talent to their receiver room in free agency. With that, the Colts can’t keep playing quarterback musical chairs forever with veterans and need to draft someone for their future. Devin Leary is an efficient passer that throws the ball with great touch to all levels of the field. He also does a great job of putting the ball in a spot where his receiver can gain extra yardage after the catch, which was a main contributing factor to his 35 touchdowns he threw in 2021, setting a new program record. Leary doesn’t force passes under pressure, and remains poised, a huge reason why he has only thrown 14 interceptions so far over four years. If the Colts want someone to come in at the quarterback spot and lead the offense right away, Leary should be their guy.
15- Washington Commanders – Kelee Ringo, Defensive Back
Washington’s pass defense has been a weakness so far in 2020. Both Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III are under contract for just one more season. Kelee Ringo is a freakish athlete at the cornerback position, and has steadily improved during his time at Georgia. He has a chance to be the first defensive back drafted and is a steal at 15 for the Commanders.
16- Miami Dolphins – Trenton Simpson, Linebacker
Many football experts are calling the Miami Dolphins this year’s Cincinnati Bengals due to their start to the season. The Dolphins don’t have many holes in their roster, but need a playmaker in the linebacker room. Trenton Simpson is that playmaker that will take Miami’s defense to another level. Simpson might be the most reliable tackler in the 2023 draft class. The Clemson product effectively rushes the quarterback and drops back into coverage to make plays on the football.