2023 NFL mock draft: 2-round projections heading into bowl season


We're heading into bowl season in college football, and while many of this year's top draft prospects might be opting out of lesser matchups, the College Football Playoff should still have a long list of young stars on display.

At the pro level, just five weeks remain in the regular season, which is plenty of time for the top of the draft order to shuffle. The Houston Texans have a comfortable two-game lead for the No. 1 overall pick, and three of the other top-five selections right now belong to teams who traded for them previously.

All that considered, here's an updated look at how the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL draft could shake out, using the latest updated order following Week 13:

*NOTE: The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick in next year's draft as a result of the NFL's investigation into tampering violations.

1. Houston Texans | Alabama QB Bryce Young


Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Davis Mills obviously isn't the answer, so it's a safe bet the Texans will be looking for his long-term replacement here. It's a tight race between Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud for this spot, but despite Young's lack of ideal size, his arm talent, athleticism, competitiveness and intangibles win out.

2. Chicago Bears | Alabama EDGE Will Anderson


(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Obviously, the Bears' prime objective in the offseason needs to be building around Justin Fields on offense, but that can be done in many different ways. In this scenario, their best bet is to take the top overall prospect in the draft, as Anderson immediately replaces the impact the defense lost when they traded away Robert Quinn.

3. Seattle Seahawks (from DEN) | Georgia DL Jalen Carter


Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The Russell Wilson deal just keeps looking better and better for the Seahawks, who are in line for a top-five pick (among others). If things play out like this, they'll be able to address one of their biggest needs here, with arguably the top overall prospect in the entire draft class.

4. Detroit Lions (from LAR) | Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud


(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Jared Goff isn't a problem or anything, but he's also not a long-term solution for the Lions. If they luck out and get a top-five pick from the Rams, this scenario would give them the perfect opportunity to land their quarterback of the future in Stroud.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (from NO) | Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy


(AP Photo/Stew Milne)

Another team that's reaping the benefits of a previous trade, the Eagles currently have the NFL's best record, and are still in line for a top-10 picks thanks to the Saints. Murphy's elite combination of size, athleticism and versatility would make him a great fit in this defense, and a bargain outside of the top five.

6. Carolina Panthers | Florida QB Anthony Richardson


(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Richardson's 2022 campaign got off to a rocky start, but he's got the kind of rare skill set that makes him the closest thing to Josh Allen that we'll see in this class, with similar boom/bust potential. The Bills are reaping the benefits of the boom, and a team like the Panthers could easily do the same.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars | TCU WR Quentin Johnston


(AP Photo/LM Otero)

The Jags could go in a couple of different directions here, but they should err on the side of helping Trevor Lawrence whenever possible. That means taking this year's top pass-catcher off the board, and Johnston has an enticing combination of size, athleticism and ball skills to be an instant No. 1 target.

8. Arizona Cardinals | Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.


(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The defense needs plenty of help, too, but the prime objective for the Cardinals needs to be ensuring the success of Kyler Murray and the offense. That starts up front, where Johnson would bring a track record of success against top competition at both guard and tackle.

9. Indianapolis Colts | Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski


Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback is obviously the biggest need for Indy, but in this scenario, there's not one left on the board who's worthy of a top-10 pick. That being the case, the Colts should spend this pick upgrading the offensive line. Skoronski is a pro-ready blocker who could plug in immediately at tackle or guard.

10. Atlanta Falcons | Clemson DL Bryan Bresee


Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This roster has plenty of needs on both sides of the ball, so just finding the best mix value/overall talent on the board should be the Falcons' goal here. In this situation, it comes along the defensive trenches, where they land a strong, disruptive presence in Bresee to pair with Grady Jarrett.

11. Green Bay Packers | Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer


Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The defense could use some trench help or a safety, but the value's just not there in this scenario. The same is true for the offensive line prospects left on the board here. That points them toward a pass-catcher, and Mayer has the complete skill set to be an immediate difference-maker on every down.

12. Las Vegas Raiders | Georgia CB Kelee Ringo


(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Another team with needs all over the place on defense, the Raiders find tons of value at corner in this scenario, with nobody off the board yet at the position. Ringo's combination of size, length, athleticism and ball skills could easily make him the first one selected.

13. Houston Texans (from CLE) | Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson


(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

After landing their franchise quarterback, the Texans need to address their desperate need for an impact player along the defensive front. Wilson's massive frame, impressive length, and rare athleticism could easily make him a top-15 pick, and he'd be a great fit in Lovie Smith's defense off the edge.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers | Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.


Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

This would just be too perfect, right? The Steelers have other needs they could address here, but the value points them to the corner spot, where they could take the son of their former star linebacker. Porter plays his position with the same confidence, physicality and competitiveness that made his dad a Pro Bowler.

15. Detroit Lions | Alabama DB Brian Branch


Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit's corner play on the outside has been a pleasant surprise so far this season, but they could still use a hybrid defender with the versatility to line up in the slot or at either safety spot. Branch is the perfect fit, having handled a similar role in Nick Saban's defense with great success.

16. Los Angeles Chargers | Georgia OT Broderick Jones


Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Rashawn Slater is already one of the NFL's best left tackles, but the Chargers need a long-term upgrade on the right side to keep Justin Herbert protected. Jones has been impressive this season against top competition, and has all the traits to quickly develop into a quality starter at a premium position.

17. New England Patriots | USC WR Jordan Addison


(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

This offense needs more playmakers, and this scenario gives the Pats a perfect opportunity to add one of the best in this class. He may not be the biggest receiver, but Addison is a smooth route-runner with reliable hands and explosive, big-play ability after the catch.

18. Washington Commanders | South Carolina CB Cam Smith


(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

This secondary needs a true shutdown artist to take over the No. 1 corner spot, and this gives Washington the perfect chance to do just that. Smith has the size, athleticism, physicality and ball skills to be that kind of player at the next level.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez


(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are both headed for free agency, so the Bucs could use another starting-caliber corner to pair with Carlton Davis III. Gonzalez has the size and length Todd Bowles loves at the position, along with the athleticism and ball skills to be an immediate playmaker.

20. Seattle Seahawks | Florida State EDGE Jared Verse


Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

After adding a dominant force for the interior of their defensive front, the Seahawks have a chance to do the same thing on the edge here. An athletic, well-rounded defender, Verse has made an immediate impact at FSU after transferring from Albany, leading the nation in tackles for loss.

21. Tennessee Titans | Georgia TE Darnell Washington


Syndication: Online Athens

This offense could use another dynamic weapon in the passing game, and though there are plenty of worthy wide receiver candidates to choose from, Washington's rare blend of size and athleticism might be too much to pass up at the tight end spot.

22. New York Jets | Clemson LB Trenton Simpson


(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Offensive tackle is a big need, but in this scenario, there's better value on the other side of the ball. That won't be a problem for Robert Saleh, who would love to add a versatile, athletic weapon like Simpson, who can make big plays all over the field.

23. New York Giants | Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt


Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

If there's a worse receiver situation in the NFL right now, I'd love to see it. The Giants desperately need an infusion of talent here, and they've got some solid options in this scenario. Hyatt has put up huge numbers in a breakout campaign, and deserves first-round billing.

24. Denver Broncos (from SF) | Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith


(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Broncos are a prime trade-down candidate, as they look to recoup some of the picks they lost in the Russell Wilson deal. If they stay here, offensive tackle is the biggest need, but the board doesn't fall favorably in this scenario. There's more value on defense, where they can add an explosive pass rusher to help replace Bradley Chubb.

25. Baltimore Ravens | Texas RB Bijan Robinson


(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

If the Ravens are going to keep deploying such a run-heavy scheme on offense, they might need a new lead back if J.K. Dobbins isn't able to return to form after multiple injuries. Robinson is a complete, three-down playmaker who could dominate opposing defenses that are focused on slowing down Lamar Jackson.

26. Cincinnati Bengals | Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson


(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Both of the Bengals' starting safeties are set to hit free agency, so they might have to address that spot if they're not able to keep both of them. Johnson is a smart, athletic playmaker with the range and physicality to make an immediate impact in this defense.

27. Dallas Cowboys | Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon


(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Trevon Diggs is obviously one of the best corners in the game right now, but the Cowboys need an upgrade on the other side of the field. Witherspoon has been one of the most dominant cover men in the country this season, and would be an immediate improvement opposite Diggs.

28. Kansas City Chiefs | Ohio State OT Dawand Jones


Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs still haven't solved their issues at right tackle, and if they head into the draft with the same situation they have currently, this pick needs to be where they find the solution. Jones is a massive blocker with tons of experience and success on the right side.

29. Minnesota Vikings | SMU WR Rashee Rice


(AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Adam Thielen isn't getting any younger, and the Vikings should find a younger understudy to eventually take over as Justin Jefferson's running mate at receiver. Rice has the size/speed combo that would make him a perfect complement to Jefferson.

30. Buffalo Bills | Florida OL O'Cyrus Torrence


(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

This pick has to be something to help Josh Allen, whether that's along the offensive line, or at wide receiver. There are plenty of pass-catching options to pick from, but a dominant interior lineman might be harder to find, so Torrence gets the nod to help protect Allen, and improve the ground game.

31. Philadelphia Eagles | Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs


Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

I've been mocking this pick for a while now, and I don't think I'll stop anytime soon. This offense is already one of the most dominant and entertaining in the league, so adding a versatile weapon like Gibbs would just make it downright unfair.

32. Houston Texans | Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba


Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

33. Pittsburgh Steelers (from CHI) | Baylor DL Siaki Ika


(AP Photo/LM Otero)

34. Los Angeles Rams | LSU EDGE BJ Ojulari


(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

35. Seattle Seahawks (from DEN) | Utah CB Clark Phillips III


(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

36. New Orleans Saints | Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker


Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

37. Jacksonville Jaguars | Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

38. Arizona Cardinals | Army EDGE Andre Carter II


Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

39. Carolina Panthers | North Carolina WR Josh Downs


Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

40. Indianapolis Colts | Kentucky QB Will Levis


Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

41. Green Bay Packers | Iowa DL Lukas Van Ness


Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

42. Atlanta Falcons | Texas A&M CB Jaylon Jones


Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

43. Cleveland Browns | Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey


Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

44. Pittsburgh Steelers | Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

45. Detroit Lions | Oregon LB Noah Sewell


(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

46. Las Vegas Raiders | USC OL Andrew Voorhees


(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

47. New England Patriots | Arkansas LB Drew Sanders


(AP Photo/Michael Woods)

48. Los Angeles Chargers | Florida DL Gervon Dexter


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49. Washington Commanders | BYU OT Blake Freeland


(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Michigan DL Mazi Smith


(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

51. Tennessee Titans | Ohio State OL Luke Wypler


(Photo by Gaelen Morse/Getty Images)

52. New York Jets | Washington State QB Cameron Ward


James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

53. Seattle Seahawks | South Dakota State TE Tucker Kraft


Syndication: Argus Leader

54. New York Giants | Alabama LB Henry To'o To'o


Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

55. Miami Dolphins | Minnesota OL John Michael Schmitz


(AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

56. Chicago Bears (from BAL) | Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan


(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

57. Cincinnati Bengals | Missouri CB Kris Abrams-Draine


(Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

58. Carolina Panthers (from SF) | Iowa LB Jack Campbell


(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

59. Dallas Cowboys | USC DL Tuli Tuipulotu


Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

60. Kansas City Chiefs | Auburn EDGE Derick Hall


(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

61. Detroit Lions (from MIN) | Wisconsin DL Keeanu Benton


Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

62. Buffalo Bills | Notre Dame S Brandon Joseph


Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

63. Philadelphia Eagles | Syracuse CB Garrett Williams


David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Story originally appeared on Draft Wire


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