Given that six teams have already been eliminated from Super Bowl 57 contention after losing in the wild-card round of the 2022-23 NFL playoffs, it is time to expand the first-round mock draft.
UPDATE: Seahawks pass on QB with Russell Wilson pick; Chargers, Vikings, Ravens also upgrade D after playoff exits
In keeping with the predictions for picks No. 1 through No. 18 overall involving the non-playoff teams, here we go 24 deep with the selections this week, with five exiting teams joining them and either the Cowboys or Buccaneers making it six on Monday night.
Because of their punishment from the league for tampering, the Dolphins had to give up their first-round pick after their loss to the Bills. This means that the Seahawks, Chargers, Vikings, and Ravens are all in the running for the pick.
Given the new draft order, here’s what each team might do with its selections:
1. Chicago Bears
Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama (6-4, 235 pounds)
For the first time since 1947, the Bears shouldn’t consider big-armed Justin Fields as a quarterback. Trading down for first-down selection power with a team looking to jump the Texans for a franchise QB is ideal. If the Bears stay, they need familiar defensive pop.
This key pass rusher and active playmaker is a great pick. Anderson gave them a new Khalil Mack after losing second-level players Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith.
2. Houston Texans
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (6-0, 194 pounds)
After Davis Mills and Kyle Allen failed, the Texans must pick a quarterback immediately. They must first choose Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, even though they may not get their QB. Based on his intangibles and proven production, Young, who has helped Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts, and Mac Jones become NFL starters, will provide the right combination of passing upside and low bust factor.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (6-3, 310 pounds)
J.J. Watt’s retirement and Zach Allen’s free agency make this an easy choice for the Cardinals. Carter is a disruptive, dominant NFL base 3-4 end. Watt-like pass-rush potential.
4. Indianapolis Colts
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (6-3, 215 pounds)
In Frank Reich’s final abbreviated season, the Colts were bad enough to stop recycling veteran QBs. They can sign Stroud, a smart pocket passer with the accuracy and intangibles to succeed as their delayed franchise replacement for Andrew Luck.
5. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos)
Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (6-5, 275 pounds)
After losing to the 49ers in the wild-card round, the Seahawks should use their extra first-rounder to improve their defensive front seven. Murphy’s explosiveness and instincts help him pass-rush in Pete Carroll’s scheme.
6. Detroit Lions (from Rams)
Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia (6-0, 205 pounds)
The Lions improved coverage with 2020 first-rounder Jeff Okudah but struggled on the perimeter. Ringo, who plays aggressively despite his size, has the right mindset.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina (6-0, 188 pounds)
With Derek Carr set to be replaced, the Raiders could look for a quarterback or offensive skill help for Josh McDaniels’ veteran QB (Tom Brady?). With Rock Ya-Sin leaving and Nate Hobbs best suited for the slot, they should also consider corner help. Smith is a physical, explosive cover man who can improve.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Isiaah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame (6-4, 257 pounds)
Foskey’s powerful, explosive, and technically sound game can boost the Falcons’ 3-4 pass rush. As a run defender, he could improve his NfL versatility.
9. Carolina Panthers
Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (6-3, 232 pounds)
After going from Baker Mayfield to P.J. Walker to Sam Darnold in a run-heavy offense, the Panthers need a new quarterback. With the right support, Levis is a solid pocket passer with arm, accuracy, and quick release.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints)
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson (6-3, 225 pounds)
Simpson would be a great addition to support T.J. Edwards and Haason Reddick, who had great regular seasons. Simpson’s tough, fast run-and-pass playmaking would complement them.
11. Tennessee Titans
Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State (6-6, 310 pounds)
Taylor Lewan, 31, has had two major knee injuries in three seasons. Dennis Daley is free. Johnson can play bookends with fellow former Buckeye Nicholas Petit-Frere for the Titans.
12. Houston Texans (from Browns)
Jordan Addison, WR, USC (6-0, 175 pounds)
The Texans need a dynamic pass-catcher for their new franchise QB. Addison’s field-stretching speed and after-the-catch quickness will quickly make him Young’s go-to guy.
13. New York Jets
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State (6-0, 197 pounds)
The Jets love Garrett Wilson, but they went cold on Elijah Moore and Corey Davis has had too many availability issues in two seasons. The team can release Davis and sign a long-term starter to pair with Wilson. Smith-Njigba can emulate Wilson and Chris Olave (Saints) as a Buckeyes prospect.
14. New England Patriots
Quinton Johnston, WR, TCU (6-4, 215 pounds)
For Mac Jones, the Patriots need to try again to get a true No. 1 wideout with Jakobi Meyers and others heading into free agency and DeVante Parker’s health issues ahead of his Age-30 season. Johnston is a Mike Evans and Mike Williams-like size-speed outside prospect with route-running skills and good hands.
15. Green Bay Packers
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (6-4, 251 pounds)
Mayer is a matchup-nightmare receiver who fits in well with fellow big-play wideouts Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. Robert Tonyan, a free agent, could help Aaron Rodgers stretch the field without Randall Cobb.
16. Washington Commanders
Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson (6-5, 300 pounds)
The Commanders should find a new front-line complement to Jonathan Allen to help Chase Young and Montez Sweat since Daron Payne is a free agent. Bresee is a good run-stopper and pass rusher.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern (6-4, 315 pounds)
Dan Moore Jr.’s pass protection has been poor. Skoronksi can provide a long-term rock on Kenny Pickett’s blind side for the Steelers.
18. Detroit Lions
Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech (6-6, 275 pounds)
The Lions could use a rangy bookend for 2022 No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson. Wilson can play multiple impact positions in a front seven due to his size and speed.
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (with loss to Cowboys)
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU (6-0, 190 pounds)
First Russell Gage, then Julio Jones, the Buccaneers sought reliable No. 3 returns for Tom Brady behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Both former Falcons suffered injuries, and Jones, Miller, and Perimman are free agents. Boutte, the last standout Tiger, could help Tampa Bay convince Brady to stay with his combination of perimeter field-stretching and inside route toughness.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M (6-3, 195 pounds)
Ryan Neal had a good season alongside Quandre Diggs, but he may leave as a free agent and missed time with a knee injury. Johnson’s size, range, and pop for run support and coverage can boost the Seahawks’ playmaking.
21. Los Angeles Chargers
Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon (6-3, 250 pounds)
The Chargers need to address the free agency of inside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Drue Tranquill and improve run defense. They can look up the coast to Sewell for his run-stopping and coverage upside.
22. Baltimore Ravens
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia (6-3, 235 pounds)
Odafe Oweh, the Ravens’ 2021 first-round pick, was disappointed because they relied on 34-year-old free agents Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Houston. Smith, who had his season cut short by a pectoral injury, is fast on the pass rush and can cover ground against the run and in coverage.
23. Dallas Cowboys (with loss to Buccaneers)
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (6-0, 215 pounds)
If Jerry Jones doesn’t re-sign Tony Pollard after his breakout season and releases Ezekiel Elliott before his Age-28 season, he’ll do this. Robinson is a do-everything, three-down back who could convince Dallas to upgrade from its productive committee with fresher legs from Austin.
24. Minnesota Vikings
Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State (6-2, 198 pounds)
With Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan leaving in free agency, the Vikings must help Cam Dantzler on defense. Porter’s size, speed, and physicality could help them cover more balls.