In our post-NFL Combine mock draft the Texans trade down, the Titans trade up, and several cornerbacks fly off the board on day one.
The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine took place last week in the great city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Hundreds of NFL Draft hopefuls arrived in the heart of the Midwest with the intent to boost their stock and display their talents in front of several scouts, head coaches, and general managers.
The stars of the week include a few obvious names and a few others that came — relatively — out of nowhere. CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson gave fans in attendance and watching at home a glimpse of what they could be as quarterbacks in the NFL.
The skill positions featured a few stellar workouts, including Bijan Robinson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Zay Flowers. The stacked tight end group saw Darnell Washington looking like LeBron James on the football field.
On the defensive side of the ball, the defensive line group lived up to its billing. Calijah Kancey and Adetomiwa Adebawore posted numbers that few at the position have ever put up. Add in the edge rushers, and it was hands down the most impressive group of the week for me.
My personal LB1, Jack Campbell, solidified his status atop my board during testing, interviews, and workouts at the NFL Combine. Trenton Simpson and Drew Sanders were a couple of others who made the most of their time in Indy.
My favorite position to scout is cornerback, and this class has some DUDES. Christian Gonzalez and Joey Porter Jr. improved their standing with NFL teams, acing the drills and all the team interviews. At safety, Sydney Brown and Quan Martin represented Illinois well.
Mock Draft: Texans and Seahawks Trade Down, Titans Draft Anthony Richardson
So, with Pro Days being the only thing standing between these prospects and the 2023 NFL Draft, let’s dive into a fresh, two-round, Post-Combine mock draft!
*We have a trade!*
Talk around the NFL Combine started and ended with the No. 1 overall pick and what the Bears might fetch in return. In this mock draft, the Indianapolis Colts pay a pretty penny to move up from No. 4. However, Colts fans will quickly forget about the compensation if the guy they choose becomes a franchise quarterback.
•No. 1 (2023)
•No. 4 (2023)
•No. 35 (2023)
•Future 1st (2024)
•Future 2nd (2024)
•Future 2nd (2025)
Ryan Poles doesn’t quite get the two extra first-rounders he is searching for, but an early day two pick and two future second-round picks on top of the 2024 first-rounder is close enough. Throwing in No. 35 overall from the Colts, allowing Indy to hold on to No. 79 this year, makes for a fair deal on all sides.
1. Indianapolis Colts (via CHI) – CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Not the quarterback you expected to see? I have Bryce Young ranked slightly ahead of CJ Stroud, but both grade out as high-end starters. Stroud brings more translatable size and pinpoint accuracy that new head coach Shane Steichen will put to great use in year one. Off the heels of an impressive NFL Combine, Stroud becomes the face of the franchise for the Colts.
*We have another trade!*
Wait, what? The Texans trading DOWN? Before you exit the article in anger, hear me out. Head coach DeMeco Ryans witnessed firsthand how to build a top-tier NFL roster during his time with San Francisco. Rather than forcing a guy at quarterback in the first year of his tenure, Ryans could elect to go the team-building route instead.
In this mock draft, the Texans opt to trade down with the Carolina Panthers, accumulating tons of future assets and giving the front office a chance to load up the rest of the roster before tabbing its man behind center.
•No. 2 (2023)
•No. 9 (2023)
•No. 39 (2023)
•No. 93 (2023)
•Future 1st (2024)
•Future 2nd (2024)
•Future 3rd (2025)
2. Carolina Panthers (via HOU) – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
The Frank Reich era is off to a hot start in Carolina, as the former Colts’ head coach has put together an all-star coaching staff around him. Next order of business? Find a franchise quarterback.
The Panthers trade a slew of draft picks to get in position to do so. Alabama’s Bryce Young is the betting favorite to go No. 1 overall, so Reich and Co. swoop in and grab the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner as the center of the rebuild.