It's never too early to put out a mock draft, right? (The other side of that argument, of course, is that it's always too early because, invariably, they're wrong -- but that's not the point. Giving you a reason to waste time at work is the point. So you're welcome in advance.)
Maybe a better way to look at this is not as a mock draft -- "Here's who your team will take 51 weeks from now having no idea how the current roster and subsequent season unfolds" -- but as a guide to the college players you should keep an eye on during the 2023 season and for the 2024 NFL Draft. And while the '23 class of QBs was an improvement over the '22 version, Caleb Williams and Drake Maye could ramp up the expectations for fans of teams who'll be in the franchise QB market next January.
Again, to reiterate: This is less "mock draft" than "handy list of names to look out for in the fall." That said, we have to mention this: The current draft order is using SportsLine's Super Bowl odds but in reverse order. We know folks are going to be very angry about why we have their team picking so high, but it's not our fault! These are your team's odds of winning a Lombardi Trophy, as determined by the robots in our analytics department.
And, honestly, we should all be thanking them because the Texans and Cardinals currently have the longest odds of winning the Super Bowl ... but there's a twist for our purposes here: Houston traded their first of two first-round picks to Arizona as part of the deal that allowed them to move up and take edge rusher Will Anderson. And that means the Cardinals have the first two picks in this mock draft.
Does Arizona take Caleb Williams with Kyler Murray still under contract? Maybe they target otherworldly wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. instead and trade the other pick. Before the big reveal, one more thing:
We may officially be in the offseason but there is no such thing on With the First Pick, the NFL Draft podcast we host alongside longtime Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. You can watch us live twice weekly on the NFL on CBS YouTube channel. And you can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.
OK, let's get to it.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Ohio State • Jr • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Marvin Harrison Jr. would have been the first wide receiver taken in the '23 class and he's a legit top-5 pick.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Penn State • Jr • 6'6" / 317 lbs
If Fashanu, who is just 20 years old, had been a part of the 2023 class, it's easy to imagine the Bears staying put and taking him with the No. 1 overall pick.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Drake Maye QB
North Carolina • Soph • 6'4" / 230 lbs
Maye is a big-armed, mobile QB who will battle Caleb Williams for the top QB in next year's class.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Joe Alt OL
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'7" / 322 lbs
The NFL puts a premium on offensive tackles and Fashanu and Alt likely would've been the first two OTs off the board had they been in the '23 class.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Brock Bowers TE
Georgia • Jr • 6'4" / 240 lbs
Bowers' teammate, Darnell Washington, lasted until Round 3, but he looks like a bona fide first-rounder based on his Georgia career to date.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 242 lbs
Turner had to share the spotlight with Will Anderson at Alabama. He'll be the alpha pass rusher in Tuscaloosa in '23.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Emeka Egbuka WR
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 206 lbs
It was easy for Egbuka to get lost in the shuffle at WRU, what with Garrett Williams, Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Marvin Harrison Jr., but he's a first-round talent.
Round 1 - Pick 10
JC Latham OL
Alabama • Jr • 6'6" / 360 lbs
The Tuscaloosa-to-Foxboro pipeline continues with Latham, the next Alabama offensive lineman to make his case for Round 1 consideration.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Washington • Sr • 6'4" / 254 lbs
The athletic pocket-collapser suffered a torn Achilles in 2021 but if he continues to progress, he could find his way into the first round.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 195 lbs
Kool-Aid not only could be the top corner in the class, he's a dangerous return man too.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Maason Smith DT
LSU • Soph • 6'6" / 315 lbs
Smith is coming off a knee injury but he's a high-floor prospect.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Texas • Jr • 6'1" / 172 lbs
The Giants added Jalin Hyatt in the '23 draft and look to get Daniel Jones another weapon here.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Quinn Ewers QB
Texas • Soph • 6'2" / 195 lbs
If Ewers can limit the mistakes and continue to improve, he'll have a chance to be one of the top QBs in the class.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Bo Nix QB
Oregon • Sr • 6'2" / 217 lbs
The Oregon version of Bo Nix looked nothing like the Auburn version, and he would've almost certainly have been a Day 2 pick had he been in the '23 class.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Cooper Beebe OL
Kansas State • Sr • 6'4" / 335 lbs
Beebe is an earth mover who had a solid season for the Wildcats in '22.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Denzel Burke CB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 190 lbs
The Raiders added Jakorian Bennett in the '23 draft and look to add more depth with Burke.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Ohio State • Jr • 6'2" / 280 lbs
The Texans had nine picks in the '23 draft but didn't address the interior defensive line. It's at the top of the to-do list in '24.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Bralen Trice LB
Washington • Jr • 6'4" / 274 lbs
The Dolphins had just four picks in the 2023 and look to get more help off the edge in division that now has Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Arkansas • Jr • 6'2" / 242 lbs
We saw two RBs go in the first round of the '23 draft and we thought Bijan Robinson would be a great fit for the Chargers had he still been available (he wasn't). They get that first-round RB here.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Illinois • Jr • 6'2" / 295 lbs
The Lions had what you might call an unconventional 2023 draft class -- but also a group that makes them the team to beat in that division. They beef up the interior defensive line with their first pick in '24.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Missouri • Jr • 5'11" / 178 lbs
Abrams-Draine would've been a top-100 player for us in the '23 class but he returns to Missouri to improve his draft stock.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Clemson • Jr • 6'0" / 195 lbs
The Cowboys didn't draft a defensive back in '23 but they do it first-thing in '24.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Georgia • Jr • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Aaron Rodgers never had a first-round WR in Green Bay and the Jets take on that tradition in New York.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Ohio State • Jr • 5'10" / 212 lbs
Two RBs go in the first round in back-to-back drafts -- and the Bengals get insurance if Joe Mixon goes elsewhere.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Rome Odunze WR
Washington • Jr • 6'3" / 215 lbs
The Bills targeted a tight end in Round 1 in '23 and get a playmaking WR here.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Tennessee • Sr • 6'3" / 325 lbs
Spraggins flashed last fall while we were watching Darnell Wright. If he can have a Wright-type leap over the summer he could make his way into the top-50 conversation.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Washington • Sr • 6'3" / 213 lbs
Penix has battled injuries but he had an impressive first season for the Huskies.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Florida State • Sr • 6'4" / 318 lbs
Lovett's a tough, reliable defensive lineman who can take on double teams and collapse the pocket.