NFL Mock Draft: Bears back in play for No. 1 overall as Carter awaits


We're beginning to enter the volatile portion of NFL draft evaluations. For some players, these final postseason games will be their last chance to display their skills in game-time situations.

Meanwhile, on the NFL, veteran players could be doing everything from beginning to file their retirement papers to dealing with serious recovery from problematic injuries. Meanwhile, front office executives and coaching staffs are mired in self-evaluation as the off-season encroaches and the fallout from firings and hirings within their perspective organizations cause costly choices to be made.

RELATED: Bears chances to land No. 1 pick up 25 percent after Texans win

Honestly, we should need to build a "flux-capacitor," a la "Back to the Future," to contend with the amount of back and forth transpirings that will change storylines between today and April 27, 2023. Enjoy.

NFL Draft order courtesy of

1. Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Questions persist about Young's physical stature and possible durability issues as a quarterback in the NFL. Although he lacks prototypical size to play at the next level (6-foot, 194 pounds), Young performs with scapel-like precision when executing game plans. A phenomenal decision maker who delivers clutch moments full of accurate passes and timely results, Young's 75 touchdown passes to only 12 interceptions at Alabama indicate how effective he could be as a NFL quarterback.

2. Bears: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

Carter is the type of generational athlete that could transform an entire organization's forturnes and Chicago desperately needs an upgrade of talent on its lackluster roster. Chances are the front office will trade down to acquire more draft capital and subsequently more prospects. However, if Chicago keeps the second pick, Carter's ability to create disruption and cause chaos could be the catalyst needed to jump start the Bears' defense.

3. Seahawks (via DEN): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Several weeks ago, the Seahawks were trending upwards with six wins and a first place position in the NFC West division. Starting quarterback Geno Smith's play vaulted him into early MVP consideration and he was an odds-on favorite to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Since then, Seattle has lost five of six games (7-8) and Smith's play over that span hasn't looked as effective or productive. Smith is an unrestricted free agent and Stroud's tantalizing upside makes him tempting with a top three pick.

4. Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

J.J. Watt recently stated that the 2022 season would be his last, so with his departure Arizona loses its best pass rusher. In the 21 games Watt played for the Cardinals, he's recorded 10.5 sacks to go along with 49 tackles and 31 quarterback hits. Arizona should pounce on the chance to draft Anderson if he's available fourth overall. Anderson, much like Watt, can instantly alter the momentum and flow of a contest with game-changing rushing of the passer.

5. Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The Colts fell far from their preseason expectations and find themselves reassessing their team trajectory and assests. Over the past several years, the Colts chose to hinge their fortunes on the arms of Hall of Fame-caliber passers, or discarded veterans with something to prove. If Levis is available at this pick, expect the Colts to try a different tact and possibly select a promising quarterback with above-average athleticism and untapped potential.

6. Falcons: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Murphy keeps things simple, beating opponents with explosive surges that force them into playing on their heels. Murphy's ability to strike fast helps in out-leveraging blockers, while his strength allows him to forcefully redirect his opponents. Murphy can rush from either side and creates enough havoc to keep offenses off schedule and in a continuous state of flux.

7. Lions (via LAR): Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Ringo showcases sprinter speed (4.3 40-time) and at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, his ceiling projects higher than most of his draft class peers. Explosive and fluid in his movements, Ringo's loose hips allow for a seamless shadowing of receivers. Ringo sports above-average change-of-direction ability, aggressive man to man coverage skills and a proficiency in zone schemes.

8. Panthers: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Wilson is the type of irritatingly effective edge rusher that opposing teams hate battling while also being the kind of versatile athlete emblematic of Carolina's defensive style of play. Wilson can either set the edge or maneuver beyond it, causing disruption and chaotic uncertainty in offensive backfields. Playing the opposite end from Carolina's best edge rusher, Brian Burns, Wilson could significantly contribute to a formidable one-two pass rushing tandem for the Panthers.

9. Raiders: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

Bresee is freakishly quick for a man his size (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) having registered a 40-time of 4.7 seconds. In addition to his short area quickness, Bresee's weight room strength (435 pound bench press) translates onto the field by his consistently out-leveraging opponents. Bresee's ability to align as either a three-technique or five-technique defender shows a level of versatility many NFL coordinators covet.

10. Eagles (via NO): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

The son of a one-time NFL star linebacker (Porter Sr., a former Steeler, Dolphin and Cardinal), this younger Porter has a unique opportunity to make Penn State history. If selected on day one of the draft, he'll be the first corner back from Penn State ever taken in the NFL's initial round. Suggesting that pedigree and histrionics are indicators of potential greatness, it's likely Porter will be a highly sought after draft prospect.

11. Texans (via CLE): Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Johnston is a legit aerial weapon with long striding acceleration, above average leaping ability and an impressive catching radius. As a boundary receiver, Johnston posesses NFL caliber size (6-foot-4, 212 pounds) and speed (4.4 40-time) that should threaten opposing teams' coverage schemes. With a career average of 18.7 yards per reception, Johnston shows himself to be the type of deep threat NFL evaluators spend time convincing general managers to draft.

12: Seahawks: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

A rangy and super athletic edge rusher (6-foot-5, 260 pounds, once recruited as a tight end), Foskey can still add good weight without it affecting his athleticism. The Irish's leader over the past two seasons in sacks (20.5) and tackles for loss (23), Foskey is just beginning to scratch the surface of his vast potential as a pass rusher.

13. Titans: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Drafting Treylon Burks in 2021 addressed the physicality lost from wide out superstar A.J. Brown's departure, but the pressing need for downfield effectiveness is still apparent in Tennessee. Addison (the 2021 Biletnikoff award winner) moves with deceptive speed and a languid fluidity that creates easy separation from pass defenders. Over the past two seasons, Addison has averaged 15.5 yards per reception and tallied 25 receiving scores.

14. Patriots: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

A sound technician with exceptional upper body strength, Skoronski plays with a nastiness that discourages defenders ill-equipped to handle his power. Skoronski is arguably the best offensive lineman in this draft class, routinely producing top notch performances on a weekly basis. Skoronski is a respected pro prospect who flashes day one starting potential and according to PFF, he is the highest rated pass blocker (92.4) in the nation.

15. Jets: Paris Johnson, OL, Ohio State

A natural athlete with easy lateral fluidity in and out of his sets, Johnson projects as a NFL left tackle. An intelligent player who executes blocks well into the second level of defenses, he's the type of agile blocker required in today's more open offensive style of play. Johnson's enviable blend of size, length, strength and awareness showcases a high ceiling worthy of a day one selection.

16. Steelers: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Gonzalez plays with a confident certitude that compliments his athleticism and his ability to pivot cleanly showcases an acceleration that gains immediate up field access when challenging pass catchers. This long-limbed defender competes tenaciously for 50/50 jump balls, with an astounding 42 inch vertical that can challenge any catch  radius.

17. Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Both of Green Bay's most utilized tight ends (Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis) are free agents heading into 2023. In drafting arguably Notre Dame's best and most accomplished tight end in school history, the Packers could only improve a passing game still adjusting from the trade of All-Pro wide out Davonte Adams from last off-season.

18. Lions: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Simpson is a do-it-all defender with elite athleticism and a versatile toolbox which allows him to dominate games. He's a special player with the ability to blitz off the edge, shed blocks to stuff ball carriers, or glide into space and eliminate underneath passing lanes. Efficiently, over his last 25 games played, Simpson has tabulated 137 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

19. Jaguars: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia

Rarely confused or displaced by stunting blitzers, Jones' fundamental approach to the game is enhanced by his elite athleticism and above average strength. Featuring excellent size (6-foot-4, 315 poundss) and impressive arm length, Jones can sting and neutralize power rushers while his quick feet and loose lateral movements help in keeping tempo with speedy edge defenders. Jones may be the most athletically gifted offensive line prospect in the 2023 draft class.

20. Buccaneers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Hands down, Anthony Richardson is clearly the most athletically-gifted quarterback in this draft class. Possessing elite speed (4.4 40-time) while standing an imposing 6-foot-4 and 234 pounds with a male gymnast's flexibility and a canon-launcher of an arm for passing, Richardson would signal a dramatic departure from the traditional pocket passing ways of current Bucs QB and future hall-of-famer, Tom Brady.

21. Commanders: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

The transfer portal in college football provides immediate opportunities for players to proactively change their situations for the better. The development of a player revolves around growth from opportunities, so minimal chances can subsequently equate to underdeveloped talent. Sanders began his career at Alabama and for two years (15 games) tallied just 33 tackles and one sack. In 2022 Sanders transfers to Arkansas and becomes wildly productive. In one season as a Razorback, he registered 103 tackles including 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 5 passes defended and 3 forced fumbles. Now, he's asking for an opportunity to grow in the NFL.

22 . Dolphins: FORFEITED

The Miami Dolphins forfeited one of their two first-round picks (plus a third-round pick in 2024) for tampering surrounding Tom Brady.

23. Giants: Jaylin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Hyatt possesses phenomenal speed and make-you-miss agility, consistently frustrating defenders' attempts to stop him in the open field. His ability to accelerate and de-accelerate makes Hyatt dangerous either from the slot position or as a boundary receiver. New York requires a consistent and dependable downfield threat to help its anemic and imbalanced offensive attack. The 2022 Biletnikof Award recepiant has upside that oozes with vast untapped potential.

24. Chargers: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

Phillips is a sturdy, compact boundary corner with excellent anticipation skills, who plays bigger than his average size would indicate. More quick than fast as a coverage defender, Phillips wins through disciplined positioning and next level awareness. On the season, Phillips' ubiquitous play making skills accounted for six interceptions, of which two were returned for scores. Phillips also marked six defended passes in only 12 games.

25. Ravens: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU

Rice is a smooth operator on the field, running crisp routes with an elegance that mirrors the Cowboys' leading receiver, CeeDee Lamb. Sporting a solid 78-inch wingspan, Rice's ability to extend past or over defenders' outstretched arms makes him a reoccurring red zone threat. The Ravens must provide superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson a healthy productive receiving option if Baltimore is ever to become a true Super Bowl contender.

26. Broncos (via SF): Dawand Jones, OL, Ohio State

Currently, Denver's offensive line is a source for anguish, giving up a league worst 57 sacks. Adding salt to Denver's offensive misery is an impotent scoring attack that's produced only eight rushing touchdowns and 14 passing scores to date (both rank lower third in the NFL). Jones is a massive human at 6-foot-8 and 359 pounds who plays to his size, dominates in the run game and provides solid pass protection. Some pundits imagine him fitting perfectly on Denver's offensive line as a bookend right tackle.

27. Cowboys: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

A transfer from the Albany Great Danes (FCS Division), this season Verse developed into an edge rushing problem for offenses at the FBS level, tallying 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks for the Seminoles. If Dallas selects Verse, his presence at the edge could allow superstar play maker Micah Parsons's flexibility to flesh out as he roams along the defensive front seven. Should that occur, the Cowboys could diversify their pass rush and attack QBs from a variety of angles.

28. Bengals: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Branch boasts a legitimate 40-time of 4.4 seconds with complimentary lateral quickness to brag about as well.  A physical player, Branch's tightly muscled core and strong lower body create significant torque when driving through opponents on his tackles. Over the past 25 contests, Branch tallied 143 total tackles with 15.5 tackles for loss and 16 passes defended. Branch is truly one of the best back end, hybrid defensive prospects in the upcoming draft.

29. Chiefs: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Throughout many preseason mock drafts, mine included, Smith-Njigba was regarded earlier in 2022 as a potential top-10 pro prospect. However, an early season injury and other receivers excelling in Columbus created a downgrading of his draft status. How fortuitous would it be for Kansas City if a talent like Smith-Njigba were to fall to them toward the bottom of the first round.

30. Vikings: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Witherspoon finished second in the Big Ten conference in 2022 with 14 passes defended while adding three interceptions. His closing speed, high football I.Q. and concept visualization skills makes Witherspoon an intriguing prospect to NFL evaluators. The Vikings will eventually need to replace all-pro veteran Patrick Peterson, so why not start sooner than later by drafting Witherspoon.

31. Bills: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Having led the nation in yards from scrimmage (1,894) this past season, NFL scouts are impressed with Robinson's entire repertoire as a complete running back. Aside from his instinctive running style and next level burst past flailing defenders, evaluators rave about Robinson's pass protection skill set and willingness to block. Yes, Robinson is an adept pass catcher and accomplished runner, but it'll be his pass blocking that could make him a day one starter.

32. Eagles: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State

The Eagles sport two edge rushers who are well into their 30s and preparing to enter unrestricted free agency in the recently acquired Robert Quinn and longtime Eagles' edge defender, Brandon Graham. Philadelphia may want to infuse its defense with a speedier and more athletic edge rusher like Anudike-Uzomah. A long-limbed, yet powerfully built athlete, Anudike-Uzomah capably transitions from speed-to-power when pressing his advantage against over-matched blockers.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us