We all love trades leading up to the draft, don’t we? The Strike 7 Sports 1st round 2023 NFL Draft preview is all about that, especially within the top 10. Based on the recent events that have taken place at the NFL combine, teams are reportedly preparing to make their move within the top 10 selections of the 2023 draft. Florida Gators QB Anthony Richardson put on a show at the combine that established himself to become a highly coveted pick. The 6-4 244-pounder set records for a quarterback with his 40 ½-inch vertical leap and 10-9 broad jump during the 2023 combine. The performance had Twitter and other social media platforms buzzing and most likely grabbed the attention of teams on hand to witness it.
The first significant trade transaction occurred when the Chicago Bears struck a deal with the Carolina Panthers on Friday to send them the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. In exchange, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bears received two future first- and second-round draft picks and Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore. For mock trade purposes, the Indianapolis Colts switched places with the Arizona Cardinals and will now be selecting at no.3. The Colts compensated Arizona with their first and third, and fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and a 2024 third-round choice to move up and draft the quarterback they want. With the trade discussions out of the way, here’s how we believe the moves will play out with the first ten picks in the 2023 draft.
1. C.J. Stroud: Panthers, QB/Ohio State
After playing musical chairs at the QB position for the past three seasons, the Panthers finally selected a prospect they can build a contender around. Stroud has all the measurables to fit perfectly into the new head coach, Frank Reich’s scheme. The former Buckeye signal-caller will inherit a supporting cast including Myles Sanders, Hayden Hurst, D.J. Chalk, and Adam Thielen. He will have veteran QB Andy Dalton to lean on when understanding the ebbs and flows of a pro-style offense.
2. Bryce Young: Texans, QB/Alabama
The Deshaun Watson era in Houston is over. And with the Texans hiring their third coach in three seasons in DeMeco Ryans, the team will finally have an opportunity to draft a potential franchise quarterback. They select Bryce Young from the University of Alabama as the second overall pick. Despite his size at 5’10, 194 lbs, Young is a game-changing playmaker. If Houston addresses key positions around Young, they will be back in the playoff-contending conversation.
3. Will Levis: Colts Via Cardinals, QB/Kentucky
In a trade between the Colts and Cardinals, the Colts now pick at three and the Cardinals at 4. With the 4th pick, the Colts select Will Levis out of Kentucky. The Colts are no strangers to selecting quarterbacks high in the draft. In 1998, they chose Peyton Manning with the first pick, and in 2012 it was Andrew Luck. With Levis coming in at no.3, will he have the same type of success?
Lamar Jackson Trade Speculation: Please remember that a team like the Baltimore Ravens could end up at 3 or 4 in the draft due to parting ways with their quarterback Lamar Jackson. Indianapolis could send Baltimore two first-round picks in return for the services of the former league MVP. On Monday, Jackson posted a tweet that stated that he requested to be traded from the Ravens organization. The two sides have not agreed on a new long-term extension. The situation remains fluid, and things can change by the day.
4. Will Anderson: Cardinals Via Colts, LB/Alabama
With three quarterbacks taken with the first three picks, the Arizona Cardinals take the first player defensive player in this year’s draft. The Cardinals select defensive end Will Anderson, out of Alabama. While he did not build off his 2021 season, where he racked up 17.5 sacks, his draft stock never fell. With Anderson in the fold, he becomes the first cornerstone player that new head coach Jonathan Gannon will have a chance to build around on defense.
5. Anthony Richardson: Seahawks Via Broncos, QB/Florida
Geno Smith made it known that he would not be phased by the Seahawks selecting a quarterback in this year’s draft if they decided to pursue that route. And with the fifth selection, they choose a signal-caller. They pick the quarterback with the most significant upsides in this year’s draft in Florida’s Anthony Richardson. With the mentorship of Smith, Richardson will be headed on the right path as a quarterback at the professional level. The Seahawks’ fleece of the Russell Wilson trade continues with this pick. They will have a chance to select another impact player at 20.
6. Jalen Carter: Lions Via Rams, DT/Georgia
More and more, we are starting to see increased productivity from the defensive tackle position. Players are doing more than affect an opposing team’s rushing attack. Some DTs like Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox can get after the quarterback and put up sack numbers that are on the levels of an edge rusher. Georgia’s Jalen Carter will be no different. Despite his off-to-field alleged transgressions, Carter will not fall out of the top 10 of this year’s draft. With the sixth-overall pick, the Lions select a potential generational talent in Carter.
7. Christian Gonzalez: Raiders, CB/Oregon
With the signing of former 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the Raiders let their intentios be known on how they will address the position. With the seventh-overall pick, the Raiders select the best-rated corner in the draft by choosing Christian Gonzalez out of Oregon. At the NFL Combine, Gonzalez ran a 4.38-second in the 40-yard dash. At 6-foot-1, he has outstanding ball skills and elite recovery speed. Addressing the cornerback position in this year’s draft is a clear need for the Raiders.
8. Tyree Wilson: Falcons, DE/Texas Tech
The Atlanta Falcons had one of the worst defenses in the league during the 2022 campaign. With the decision to remain at selection eight, they decided to select a game-changing player on defense. Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson is the player they zone in on selecting. Wilson will join a Falcons defensive line featuring Lorenzo Carter and free agent acquisition David Onyemata. Atlanta’s new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen’s calling card is building great defensive lines. With the selection of Wilson, he will only add that lineage.
9. Paris Johnson: Bears Via Panthers, OT/Ohio State
Chicago made a smart move by trading with the Panthers and accumulating many picks. With the 9th pick, they address their most enormous hole, offensive tackle. Although they added guard Nate Davis in free agency, there’s still uncertainty at the right tackle position, and it’s crucial to protect their young quarterback, Justin Fields. The Bears could have their choice of the top tackles in the draft, and they ultimately select Paris Johnson out of Ohio State. Johnson’s versatility in both tackle spots and right guard makes him an attractive option for Chicago. He’s also familiar with blocking for Fields, which could help with the quarterback’s development. With this pick, the Bears ensure they have a solid lineman to protect Fields and could still address the defense with their numerous choices later in rounds.
10. Lukas Van Ness: Eagles Via Saints, DE/Iowa
The Eagles had significant departures from their Super Bowl defense in 2022. Players such as Jarvon Hargrave, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and T.J. Edwards signed with other teams during free agency. The selection of Lukas Van Ness is an intriguing prospect who has the potential to be a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line. At 6-foot-5, 272 pounds, Van Ness has the flexibility to play tackle and end; he had 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last season while playing at Iowa.
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