Welcome to 2023 NFL draft week. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we will hear 259 names called as top prospects and future stars are selected to new teams. Why not project them all? I made picks across all seven rounds based on what I'm hearing around the league in my final mock draft. Ultimately, 12 quarterbacks found landing spots, including five in the first round. And while I opted against projecting trades, I did make a key update to the mock draft. I tweaked my predictions from Sunday to reflect the much-anticipated Aaron Rodgers trade to the Jets. Check out how the deal altered draft night for the Packers, Jets and a few other teams.
Here are my predictions for Rounds 1-7. I provided complete breakdowns for the first three rounds then picked my favorite fit in each Day 3 round. And I also wove in intel from scouts, execs and coaches from numerous phone calls and texts over the past 10 days as we try to get a better understanding of how things will play out. Let's get to it, starting with the Panthers' decision at No. 1 and wrapping up with Mr. Irrelevant for the Texans at No. 259. (Compensatory picks are denoted with an asterisk.)
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1. Carolina Panthers (from CHI)
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
After months of scouting and interviews, the Panthers appear to be set on Young. He is a poised competitor with awesome accuracy on the move and an ability to find passing windows despite a smaller 5-foot-10, 204-pound frame. Young is NFL-ready thanks to his fast-processing ability and what he offers as a creator when plays break down.
Multiple sources told me that once the Panthers' coaching staff dove back into the film on Young, it was convinced he should be the No. 1 pick. "There's a lot of like for C.J. Stroud there, especially in the coaching ranks, but Bryce won the entire organization over," said one former team executive with knowledge of the team's plans.