The jet lag from Sunday’s flight home from the 2022 NFL draft in Las Vegas has barely worn off, but I’m already digging in on the 2023 class. I’m that excited about this group. After only one quarterback was selected in the first 73 picks this year, we could see a handful in the first round next April. There are also truly special prospects on the defensive side of the ball, and I think we could see five-plus receivers in Round 1 yet again. So let’s project the early scope of the first round.
Now, this is an extremely early prediction. I haven’t spent much time with the 2023 class’ tape yet, and a lot of this is based on what I’ve seen while watching prospects in person over the past two seasons and early buzz around the league. Expect big changes between now and next April. My 2022 way-too-early mock, for example, featured 10 prospects who ultimately were first-rounders and predicted five top-10 picks — but eight players listed ultimately didn’t enter the draft, and 14 others weren’t selected in Round 1. It’s still 12 months out, and we have a full college season and a long pre-draft process ahead.
Then there is the draft order, which I did not decide. We opted to project the order using the inverse of Super Bowl odds from Caesars Sportsbook, though we broke some ties and tweaked the end of the order to ensure seven teams from each conference in the playoffs. That puts Houston on the clock to get things going in Round 1.
Note: Underclassmen are noted with an asterisk. Traded picks are shown below as well.