Every year around this time, my son and I get very, very excited for the first part of the football season, which is the NFL Draft.
Now, as an employment fair, the draft is kind of problematic – what other world would force top job prospects to choose only one company, and often the better the prospect, the worse the team picking him or her is.
It kind of sucks, and reminds me a little bit of indentured servitude.
Such as it is, though.
To Cole’s credit, he spends a great deal of time studying the prospects and team needs and he spent a lot of time working on this particular mock draft.
Now, mock drafts are notoriously inaccurate, considering that trades happen frequently and it just takes one team to go off the board and reach for a player that other teams don’t value as much in order to foul things up irreparably.
That said, here’s what Cole is thinking about going into the first round of the NFL Draft tonight at 8 p.m.
The TOP 10:
1. Carolina Panthers C.J. Stroud, QB
The Panthers traded up with the Chicago Bears for the first pick in the draft a few weeks back and the initial thought was that the Panthers coveted Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud, a tall, pocket pro-style passer that should satisfy the Panthers’ need at the position – one they have struggled to fil ever since Cam Newton left town the first time. There has been talk the Panthers haven’t settled on Stroud but that feels like pre-draft smokescreens.
2. Houston Texans Bryce Young, QB
The Texans also have a need at QB and most projections have Young – who won the 2022 Heisman Trophy but is one of the smallest NFL quarterback prospects of all time. Will he be too small to see over his offensive line? Time will tell, but the polished Young is exactly what the scattered Texans offense needs.
3. Cardinals Will Anderson, DE/LB
This might be a trade-down for the Cards, whose roster is an absolute mess right now and has so many holes to fill. One place without a hole is at quarterback so if the Cards keep the pick look for them to take the consensus number-one player in the draft, Alabama’s star pass rusher Will Anderson, who was simply the best player available this year.
4. Indianapolis Colts Anthony Richardson, QB
So, with this pick, the 2023 NFL Draft REALLY gets started. Richardson is a 6’6, 244-pound man who ran faster than anyone that size has ever run at the NFL testing combine last month. The problem? He might not actually be good at football. Richardson’s two years at the University of Florida were remarkable for their unremarkability. His passing accuracy is a question, but his athletic ability is not. And in today’s NFL, you put your best athlete at quarterback and hope he figures it out.
5. Seattle Seahawks Tyree Wilson DE/LB
We think the Seahawks might trade into the top 3 with Arizona for a quarterback, but that’s not a given. Instead, we think they stay put and use one of their two first round (second is #20) picks on the next best pass rusher in the draft. The Seahawks made the playoffs last year but fell to San Francisco because they just could not get any pressure on Brock Purdy. Wilson can change that and we think he’s the pick here.
6. Lions Christian Gonzalez, CB
The top corner in the draft, Gonzalez will solidify the corner spot for the Lions, who just traded Jeff Okudah away and defense is a major need for the Lions, who have playoff aspirations next season. Here’s hoping Gonzalez can stay healthier than Okudah, who the Lions took at 3 overall just a few years back. With great size and premier speed, the Lions look to improve the defence fast.
7. Raiders Devon Witherspoon, CB
With Christian Gonzalez going before their pick they pick the second best player at a big weakness in the Raiders defense. He is an elite man coverage player who has elite physicality and has shown amazing skill in his latest season this is a great pick to help the defence for the future.
8. Falcons Jalen Carter, IDL
Although Carter has some work ethic concerns and off the field issues, he is still considered one of the best prospects talent wise. With him playing college in Georgia this pick would keep him in close. With this being a good pick for both business and helping at to a young developing defense it feels like a no brainer.
9. Commanders Will Levis, QB (trade with Bears)
With many players needing big extensions soon the Commanders will need to jump at the opportunity to upgrade the most important position in football. Although Levis did not have a large amount of production in college his arm strength is amazing. There is some comparison between him and Zach Wilson but you could also compare him to Josh Allen an elite QB.
10. Eagles: Joey Porter, Jr., CB, Penn State
One of the consensus top 3 CBs in the draft, this is an area of need for the Eagles.