In the month's leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, the idea is to address all of the potential scenarios fans may witness on draft night. In last week's thought exercise, the Carolina Panthers traded up twice to provide a soft landing spot for Chicago in a trade back from No. 1 overall. In today's thought exercise, the Bears embrace the idea of trading back twice to pick up significant draft capital to rebuild the roster.
The draft order below is now the official order based on team records and tiebreakers. There is not a No. 21 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.)
Mock Trade from Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 1
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 214 lbs
Indianapolis trades up from No. 4 overall to select C.J. Stroud from Ohio State. Stroud has shown a complete skillset following the playoff loss to Georgia. He is young and has great size to lead Indianapolis forward with a new head coach.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 204 lbs
Houston named DeMeco Ryans as the team's next head coach, and now they have a new leader at quarterback. The Texans now need to make sure he has the talent around him to be successful.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 253 lbs
Arizona has lost Haason Reddick and Chandler Jones in recent years and are now losing J.J. Watt. It goes without saying that they need to find players capable of applying pressure to the quarterback. Will Anderson Jr. is one of those players.
Mock Trade from Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 4
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • Sr • 6'4" / 229 lbs
After trading back from No. 1 overall, Chicago now trades back from No. 4 overall to acquire future first-round and Day 2 picks. Quarterbacks came off the board with the first two selections, so Carolina felt the urgency to be aggressive. Head coach Frank Reich will have Will Levis at quarterback in his first season.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 5
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 314 lbs
Seattle should probably aim to take a quarterback this year, but it does not have to be so desperate that it will take any. With a run on the position occurring early, the Seahawks instead elect to address the interior defensive line with Jalen Carter.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 6
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • Sr • 6'6" / 271 lbs
Tyree Wilson is a long, impressive looking prospect but still very much a work in progress. Detroit has bigger needs but are victims of the board. It may lean towards a more explosive talent at edge rusher to pair with Aidan Hutchinson.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 313 lbs
It is unknown where Peter Skoronski is going to play at the next level. He succeeded at left tackle for Northwestern but has traditionally short arms. What is known is that Skoronski should be a good player protecting whomever Las Vegas deems fit to run the offense next season.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Myles Murphy DL
Clemson • Jr • 6'5" / 268 lbs
Myles Murphy is one of the best talents in this draft class. Atlanta needs to find tentpoles moving forward, and Murphy could be one of those players on defense.
Mock Trade from Carolina Panthers
Round 1 - Pick 9
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Broderick Jones is a young, but physically gifted offensive tackle. Chicago may have preferred to address the defense, but after trading back twice, the board led the team to the offensive line. The Bears will have to decide whether to keep Braxton Jones on the left side or flip him to the right.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 10
Cam Smith CB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'1" / 180 lbs
Cam Smith had a much-improved 2022 season and would be a great fit in Philadelphia's defensive scheme. James Bradberry is scheduled to become a free agent, so the Eagles fill that void elsewhere.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Ohio State • Jr • 6'6" / 313 lbs
Will Tennessee retain left tackle Taylor Lewan for another year? It could potentially need to replace both starting offensive tackles next season, so it is important to get a jump on that objective early.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 12
Illinois • Jr • 6'0" / 181 lbs
Houston used an early first-round pick on cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. last year, but Devon Witherspoon is arguably the best option available at this stage of the first round. The Texans acquired this pick in the Deshaun Watson deal.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Brian Branch has become one of my favorite projections for New York because of his high football acumen. The Jets had an edge to them this past season. They will be able to sustain it by adding quality players like Branch.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Clemson • Jr • 6'2" / 235 lbs
New England has shown faith in assistant coach Jerod Mayo. It continues the good faith by giving him linebacker Trenton Simpson in the first round.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'5" / 249 lbs
Green Bay could take a wide receiver like Jordan Addison here but instead adds a player who could also impact the run game through blocking. Michael Mayer is a well-balanced tight end.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Oregon • Soph • 6'1" / 197 lbs
Washington adds a big-bodied cornerback to a defense that was improved this season. Christian Gonzalez has the size to play man coverage but has also been exposed to some zone.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Drew Sanders LB
Arkansas • Jr • 6'4" / 235 lbs
Pittsburgh needs offensive tackle and cornerback help. Joey Porter Jr. makes a lot of sense considering team needs and his ties to the organization, but it also needs improved play at linebacker. A tandem of Drew Sanders and T.J. Watt gives Pittsburgh some flexibility to offer different looks pre-snap.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 244 lbs
Detroit did not partake in the early run on quarterbacks, so it remained patient and had an intriguing talent fall to it midway through the first round. Anthony Richardson is as raw as they come, but his talent will bring Lions fans out to training camp in droves.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 193 lbs
Tampa Bay is now informed of Tom Brady's decision to retire. After over-committing resources the past few years, it may be time for the Buccaneers to be a bit more conservative this offseason and allow their salary cap space to return to a healthy state. The addition of Joey Porter Jr. allows them to be more flexible in the secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Nolan Smith EDGE
Georgia • Sr • 6'2" / 238 lbs
Seattle added Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter with the No. 5 overall selection and now adds Nolan Smith, his teammate, later in the first round. With any hope, Boye Mafe will continue developing and Smith can provide some juice off the opposite side.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Georgia • Jr • 6'7" / 264 lbs
Darnell Washington is a big-bodied target for Justin Herbert, but he is also an effective blocker in the run game.
Round 1 - Pick 22
TCU • Jr • 6'3" / 208 lbs
The addition of Quentin Johnston gives Baltimore some size in the wide receiver room. A skill talent group of Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman and Johnston should be above average.
Round 1 - Pick 23
USC • Jr • 5'11" / 173 lbs
Jordan Addison may seem like a luxury right now, but the plan is for him to eventually take over for Adam Thielen.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Bryan Bresee DL
Clemson • Soph • 6'6" / 298 lbs
Jacksonville has invested significant resources into the edge rush group and now adds a plug-and-play interior defensive ceiling. The only question is, how high will Bryan Bresee's ceiling reach?
Round 1 - Pick 25
Kelee Ringo CB
Georgia • Soph • 6'2" / 207 lbs
Kelee Ringo has the size profile of a man coverage cornerback but got turned around too often this season. Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale should be able to help him reach his potential.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'2" / 198 lbs
Dallas has really duct-taped its secondary together over the past few years, but it has become a need again. They could really afford to add another cornerback but add a versatile safety here.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Florida • Jr • 6'5" / 330 lbs
Buffalo needs more physicality along the offensive line, and O'Cyrus Torrence brings that to the building.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Oregon State • Jr • 6'6" / 253 lbs
It is a really strong year for the tight end position. As a result, the run may not start until later, but, in this scenario, three go in the first round. Luke Musgrave's lack of availability this season may stand in the way of him reaching the first round, but he certainly has the ability to receive consideration.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 29
Lukas Van Ness EDGE
Iowa • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Spotrac projects New Orleans to be $57 million in salary cap debt this offseason, so it is unlikely it's able to re-sign free agent edge rusher Marcus Davenport, who has a market value in excess of $20 million. The Saints keep a rotation on the edge by drafting Lukas Van Ness.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Texas • Jr • 5'11" / 215 lbs
Bijan Robinson almost certainly will not last this long in the first round, but it is difficult to find landing spots for him. Kansas City is the beneficiary of the NFL de-valuing the running back position.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Felix Anudike-Uzomah EDGE
Kansas State • Jr • 6'3" / 255 lbs
Philadelphia has an aging defensive front, but it addresses it by drafting Felix Anudike-Uzomah so that it remains a strength.