The Daily News’ one and only 2023 mock draft has the Giants and Jets both going offense and five quarterbacks getting drafted in the first round.
Here is how the News’ Pat Leonard believes the board could fall on Thursday night:
1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
An expensive trade up from No. 9 overall lands owner David Tepper a new franchise QB.
2. Houston Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
The Texans have Davis Mills and Case Keenum at quarterback right now. We’ll believe Houston GM Nick Caserio is going to pass on a QB here when we see it.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
New GM Monti Ossenfort would like to trade back with a QB needy team. But if he doesn’t, new coach Jonathan Gannon gets a tough, consensus All-American corner to build his secondary.
4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
GM Chris Ballard should be trading for Ravens former MVP Lamar Jackson. Instead, he selects the strong-armed Wildcats QB.
5. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Pete Carroll is comfortable bringing in elite talents with red flags and questionable reputations. Carter is one of the best players in this draft.
6. Detroit Lions (from Rams): Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
Dan Campbell’s defense surrendered the most yards in the league last season. This could be a corner, too. But GM Brad Holmes can’t pass on Anderson if he’s still on the board.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
GM Dave Ziegler needs corners badly to cover against the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos in the AFC West. Gonzalez was a ball-hawk with four INTs and 11 passes defended last season.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
If incumbent Desmond Ridder truly is Atlanta’s starting QB, coach Arthur Smith adds a versatile and clean prospect who helps his offense in the backfield and slot.
9. Chicago Bears (from Panthers): Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
GM Ryan Poles takes a unanimous All-American tackle from a nearby university who can plug and play at guard in front of Justin Fields.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Howie Roseman will take Georgia’s Carter if he’s still on the board. A trade down is possible here, too, without a run-stopping DT worth the pick. So he reinforces the secondary.
11. Tennessee Titans: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
GM Ran Carthon is in building mode. He’d like to trade back here. This helps turn over the offensive line, though, and leaves the door open to Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker in round two if he’s there or to a 2024 NFL Draft QB selection in a stronger class.
12. Houston Texans (from Browns): Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
Teams are concerned about Wilson’s right foot injury. It’s still possible he’s a top five pick. New coach DeMeco Ryans still gets a long pass rusher to try and recreate his 49ers success.
13. Jets: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
GM Joe Douglas needs to build a consistent and competent offensive line so Aaron Rodgers can produce from the jump.
14. New England Patriots: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
Bill Belichick needs more weapons on defense in an AFC East that will likely feature Rodgers on top of the Bills’ Josh Allen and the Dolphins’ speedy receivers.
15. Green Bay Packers: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
The Packers send off Rodgers by finally drafting a first-round receiver … for his successor Jordan Love.
16. Washington Commanders: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The first-team All-SEC tackle’s 47 games played was by far the most for any of this year’s top tackles. Wright can contribute reliably right away and has position versatility.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
This is one of the corners on the Giants’ radar. He won’t make it past Mike Tomlin, though.
18. Detroit Lions: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
The Lions just cut WR Quintez Cephus due to a season-long gambling suspension and lost 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams for six games.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
No one knows exactly how high the athletic Gators QB will go. If he’s still on the board, Tampa’s only QBs at the moment are Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask.
20. Seattle Seahawks: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
GM John Schneider likely trades back here. He wants to keep building his O-line. Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz would help him do that. But Hooker’s value on a redshirt year behind Geno Smith is a tantalizing possibility.
*Note: The Miami Dolphins forfeited the No. 21 overall pick by tampering to acquire QB Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton from 2019-2022. One rumor going around is that Goodell will announce the Dolphins’ pick as forfeited at the podium before putting the Chargers on the clock.
21. L.A. Chargers: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State.
This could be a receiver. But head coach Brandon Staley, the Rams’ former defensive coordinator, needs more talent on his bread-and-butter unit in a pivotal season.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
GM Eric DeCosta could go CB or WR, too. But the value is too good here to stack talent, youth and cost control at a position where Baltimore has struggled with health and consistency.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
Brian Flores has arrived to fix the defense. He gets a talented corner with some flags to start the process.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
The first-team All-ACC pass rusher could go much higher than this. Doug Pederson’s offense adds Calvin Ridley to the receiving corps off a 2022 suspension, so he helps the defense here.
25. Giants: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Joe Schoen likely will go corner if one of his top CBs slips. If they’re gone, he prioritizes protecting the QB he just signed to a $160 million extension.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Whether it’s Utah’s Dalton Kincaid or the Irish standout Mayer, Cowboys coach and now play-caller Mike McCarthy adds another weapon after losing TE Dalton Schultz to Houston.
27. Buffalo Bills: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
GM Brandon Beane continues to try to improve and fortify his defensive front.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
Protecting Joe Burrow is what matters most.
29. New Orleans Saints (from 49ers through Dolphins): Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
New QB Derek Carr needs more weapons. The Saints’ defense can use help, too, but Flowers can help in the slot and in the vertical passing game.
30. Eagles: Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
Javon Hargrave’s free agent departure to the 49ers makes interior D-line one of Philly’s top needs. The 6-5, 272-pound Van Ness played both the edge and interior for the Hawkeyes.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Patrick Mahomes benefits from another reliable weapon to pair with TE Travis Kelce and Andy Reid’s otherwise talented but inconsistent rotation with JuJu Smith-Schuster gone to New England.