2023 NFL Draft: Texans Land Bryce Young, Seahawks Stack Defensive Line In Updated Mock Draft

Sep 24, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) leaves the field after defeating the Vanderbilt Commodores at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 55-3. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) leaves the field after defeating the Vanderbilt Commodores at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 55-3. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /
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We are officially 12 weeks into the NFL season, and conference championships and bowl games are all that remain for college football. That feint sound you are hearing right now is the NFL Draft community rejoicing. With the 2023 NFL Draft creeping closer and closer, let’s embark on the perilous journey of a first-round mock draft.

*2023 NFL Draft order for this mock draft is determined by Tankathon*

1. Houston Texans – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The debate for QB1 will rage on until the 2023 NFL Draft begins. Will it be Ohio State’s CJ Stroud or Alabama’s Bryce Young? Could Will Levis sneak into the conversation? We may not know which quarterback will come off the board first, but we know it will be the Houston Texans selecting them.

The Texans sit at 1-9-1, comfortably in last place in the NFL. Houston has some promising young talent, but the void behind center is becoming too vast to ignore. While CJ Stroud and Will Levis have their case, Bryce Young should be the guy the Texans look to as a franchise cornerstone.

Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, lacks prototypical size but checks the box in every other category. The Crimson Tide quarterback is precise as a passer and flashes the potential to be an elite runner at the next level. Pair his dominant physical talent with his otherworldly leadership, and the rebuild will accelerate exponentially.

2. Chicago Bears – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

The temptation to reach on an offensive tackle will be tough to fight, but the Chicago Bears cannot pick solely on need at No. 2 overall in this mock draft. Even if it is strictly a need-based move, Chicago lacks a consistent pass rusher after trading away Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. Will Anderson Jr. not only is the best pass rusher in the class, but he is also the best player. Period.

Protecting Justin Fields should take precedence this offseason, but one way to do that is by adding a potentially elite player on the other side of the ball. Anderson Jr. is nearly unblockable in one-on-one situations and is equally as effective in run defense as he is at tracking down the opposing quarterback.

Anderson’s tape at Alabama is what the NFL Draft community calls “teach tape”. His form is impeccable. His arsenal of pass rush moves is diverse, and he profiles as a player that can be a game wrecker similar to Myles Garrett. Peter Skoronski and Paris Johnson Jr. make sense, but passing on the best player in the class is something the franchise would grow to regret.

3. Detroit Lions (via LAR) – CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

How amazing is this? The Detroit Lions land a Matt Stafford and Jared Goff successor, using an NFL Draft pick involved in the Stafford-Goff trade. It is funny the way that things work out sometimes. Well, funny for Detroit, but maybe not so funny for the Rams.

The Lions have played well the past month, which has caused many to wonder if they would play themselves out of position to take a signal-caller early in round one. However, thanks to a disastrous 2022 campaign from the Rams, Detroit is sitting in a prime position at No. 3 overall in this mock draft.

CJ Stroud suffered a second straight loss to the Michigan Wolverines this weekend, but I imagine fans of the program would happily take Stroud as the next quarterback of the Lions. Stroud’s anticipation and touch on throws are as good as I have ever seen. The shaky starts and performance under pressure are concerning, but given how strong the Lions’ offensive line and weapons are, Stroud should put up numbers from day one.

4. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) – Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

Remember what I said about the Lions owning a top-five pick that isn’t their original pick? The same is true with the Seattle Seahawks at No. 4 overall. The Russell Wilson trade has blown up in Denver’s face in 2022. The franchise traded away multiple day one and two picks and paid the quarterback nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in an extension.

The result? A 3-8 record and last place in the AFC West. On the flip side, the Seahawks have been better with Geno Smith than expected. At 6-5, Seattle is playing well enough on offense that the franchise should not feel forced to reach on a quarterback. Instead, the Seahawks land the No. 2 player on my 2023 NFL Draft Big Board, Georgia’s Jalen Carter.

The Bulldogs sent 15 players to the 2021 NFL Draft and, somehow, got better. Actually, “somehow” is disingenuous — Jalen Carter is the reason why. Carter is a mammoth of a man that will drop jaws when he tests at the scouting combine. Carter generates consistent pressure from the inside and can single handily shut down a rushing attack by himself. Anyone who just watched Josh Jacobs dice up this defense can see why Carter is the pick in this mock draft.