3-Round 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Surprise At No. 1, Colts Trade Up For QB

Oct 8, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) celebrates after throwing his fourth touchdown in the first half of the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium.Osu22msu Kwr 46
Oct 8, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) celebrates after throwing his fourth touchdown in the first half of the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium.Osu22msu Kwr 46 /
1 of 10

With the NFL Draft kicking off in less than two weeks, we feature three rounds and analysis for every NFL team in our latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

The 2023 NFL Draft is right around the corner! We are starting to hear lots of whispers of what teams plan to do in a couple of weeks when on the clock, but no one truly knows what will happen during the wild event that we call the NFL Draft.

Three-Round 2023 NFL Mock Draft

The draft does truly start this year with the first overall pick, held by the Carolina Panthers who gave up a ton to trade up for, presumably, their quarterback of the future. Word is coming out a lot recently that Bryce Young is their guy, but I say, “Not so fast my friend”.

Who will be the first pick? Will Houston take a quarterback? Will anyone trade up with the Cardinals to lock in the third quarterback? Are Lamar Jackson or Aaron Rodgers on the move? Who does YOUR team pick in the first three rounds? Find out in this latest three-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft with analysis for each and every team.

1. Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

All the buzz right now has Bryce Young coming off the board first overall to the Carolina Panthers. I still find it hard to believe that they will pass on C.J. Stroud. Right now, about two weeks before the 2023 NFL Draft, is prime time for misinformation. If the Panthers were smart, they would not let anyone know who they are going to select.

Maybe if the word is still firmly Young a day or two prior to the draft I will start to buy in. At this point, I think it could be like a Cleveland Browns situation in 2018. Heading into the draft, it seemed everyone assumed Cleveland would select either the “safe” option of Sam Darnold or the “project” with high upside in Josh Allen. It wasn’t until just before the draft that people got word the pick could be Baker Mayfield.

For me, right now I will listen to Carolina’s own quarterback coach Josh McCown, who compared Stroud to Joe Burrow, when he told Stroud that the two of them will find a court to play basketball when he lives in Charlotte.

Stroud is more of your typical NFL quarterback with his size, arm, processing, and improved movement ability. New Panthers head coach Frank Reich will surely love to work with a player of Stroud’s caliber who doesn’t come with the size concerns that Young has surrounding him. Carolina gave up a TON to move up to number one and I think Stroud is the best bet for the front office to link themselves to.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The Houston Texans will be jumping for joy, as it has seemed apparent for quite some time that Bryce Young is “their guy” in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. New head coach DeMeco Ryans goes back to his Alabama roots and convinces the front office that the former Crimson Tide quarterback is the guy to turn this struggling franchise around.

If “their guy” goes first overall, there is word that the Texans may pass on a quarterback and go with the top defender in the draft, which would likely be music to Ryans’s ears as a defensive coach, but I would think even he should know how important it is for the team to find their future at the quarterback position.

Young is still a very dynamic playmaker. He can make every NFL throw and is incredibly effective off-schedule and out of the pocket. If Houston is prepared to mold their offense to his strengths, there is no doubt that he can be successful at the next level. I think his size concerns are real and could lead him to struggle as a true pocket passer in the NFL but I think it is a lock for Young to go with one of the top two picks in every 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

3. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

If there is no trade at pick three, I believe these two teams end up with the same players. However, with the threat of a different team moving up with Arizona to take a quarterback, I believe that the Indianapolis Colts will jump up a spot to make sure they get their preferred quarterback that remains. In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, that player is Anthony Richardson.

Sure, new head coach Shane Steichen and the Colts’ front office could prefer Will Levis, but I think the upside that Richardson has already shown in his short amount of time playing the position proves to them that he is clay they can mold into a top NFL talent.

Steichen was clearly instrumental in the growth and development of Jalen Hurts for the Philadelphia Eagles as the offensive coordinator, so he should be able to do something similar, running a very similar offense, with Richardson in Indianapolis.


Richardson is insanely athletic. You see it on tape and he backed it up with his testing at the Combine. He is a very talented runner on both designed runs and when scrambling and can still keep his eyes downfield and make eye-popping throws on the run when evading pressure. Sure, he needs to be more consistent with his accuracy but Richardson has an absolute cannon for an arm and I was very impressed with the tape I watched from his playing time at Florida.

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

Whether it is at pick three or pick four, the Arizona Cardinals were bound to end up with Will Anderson Jr. in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Most people agree that Arizona is primed to trade down, as they have so many holes in their roster that they could use some extra draft capital to address. Those that disagree argue that the Cardinals can’t afford to move down so far that they move themselves out of position to draft one of the “blue-chip” prospects in this class. Here they are able to do both.

Sure, they don’t get a multiple first-round pick haul like they probably would if they fell all the way down to, say, 11 with Tennessee, 14 with New England, 16 with Washington, or 19 with Tampa Bay, but they are still able to add valuable day two picks in both this year’s and next year’s drafts while still getting the guy they would have drafted all along. Not to mention they save a bit on the contract with the selection being one spot later.

Anderson is widely regarded as the best edge defender in this draft. He was towards the top in the nation in QB pressures throughout his college career, playing at the highest level against SEC talent at Alabama.  He is always around the football making plays and will be the cornerstone for the rebuilding defense under new head coach Jonathan Gannon who, like Steichen, left the Eagles to run his own team.