It’s time to kick off the 2023 DBN Community NFL Mock Draft! We are releasing four picks at a time in one post to give you more substance to digest how the draft is unfolding.
No. 1 - Panthers - C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
The selection and write-up were made by Slaytanic Brownie:
Being named the top performer at the 2023 combine, C.J. Stroud elevated his standing to QB1 among the teams with selections in the top 10. It certainly helped sway the owner and brass in Carolina to realize how game ready C.J. is, yet still having such a high ceiling for his NFL future. When the Panthers made a deal with the Bears to move up from #9 to the first pick, they were making a full on statement as it is the earliest trade for the #1 pick the NFL has seen since 1978, when the Oilers traded up to get Earl Campbell.
After the workout session David Tepper said “C. J. has everything you could want in a franchise quarterback, and I can’t say enough good things about what’s going on here in Columbus.” “ To think that Ohio State has the top players in the draft at the quarterback, center, offensive tackle and wide receiver… I just wish I had a couple more first round picks!”
C.J. will be expected to compete right away for the starting position considering how Carolina has Andy Dalton in the lead right now, and he’s got a career winning percentage of 52% and is 0-4 in the playoffs, but the last 3 seasons his record is 13-16… so he is clearly not the guy they want steering the ship. They took a flier on QB Matt Coral in round 3 last season, but a Lisfranc fracture in the preseason put him on IR and kept him from sniffing the field at all. The lack of a solid starting QB is going to put some extra weight on C.J.’s shoulders, but he is well prepared and will be ready to go on September 10th for the Panthers first game at home against the Tennessee Titans.
No. 2 - Texans - Will Anderson Jr, DE, Alabama
The selection and write-up were made by Indians_Forever:
I would suggest a trade down, since I think they could have a trade worked for QB Lamar Jackson. But without a viable trade in this simulation, the Texans select Will Anderson, Jr., Alabama, DE. Let’s face it. The Houston pass rush was abysmal in 2022. Jerry Hughes led the way with 9 which is respectable, but no other Texan had more than 5. Anderson paired with Hughes should at least make opposing passers nervous.
No. 3 - Cardinals - Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
The selection and write-up were made by Jared Mueller:
With Anderson off the board and a long road ahead for the Cardinals, a trade-down would be almost a lock here even if they just get Indianapolis to believe that Seattle wants to make the deal so they flip-flop to #4. The Colts and Seahawks are a couple of the potential trade-up partners but not the only ones.
Being stuck selecting here at #3, Arizona selects OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern. It’s not an exciting selection, but none of the other defenders are as impactful as a true left tackle can be and the Cardinals aren’t selecting a quarterback due to Kyler Murray’s contract.
No. 4 - Colts - Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
The selection and write-up were made by fjblessi:
Wow - sometimes life just works out for you. Sitting at #4 the concern for the past couple of months in Indianapolis is that the Colts would be stuck with the #4 QB in the draft. The Colts have to thank Houston and Arizona for leaving what many believe to be the top QB still on the board, at the very least 1B to CJ Stroud’s 1A. With the 4th pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts take Bryce Young.
Since Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement the Colts have been trying to be competitive with one/two year rentals at QB. Drafting Young changes that and gives the Colts a young player that can legitimately be groomed to be a franchise QB for years to come. While size is a concern, the Colts have the start of a strong OL and can build on that to protect their young QB. As Browns fans know, drafting a QB is a roll of the dice, but this is a strong QB candidate who the Colts can rebuild around.
Up next will be the 5-8 picks in the 2023 DBN Community Mock Draft.