2023 NFL Mock Draft: Five First-Round Trades
With only four teams left in the playoffs, 28 teams have shifted their focus to the offseason. While free agency and the trade market will impact every team’s needs, it’s never too early for a 2023 NFL Mock draft.
This mock draft will include five hypothetical first-round trades, including one with the first overall pick.
Check out all of our 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports & Prospect Profiles >>
There are only 31 first-round picks in this year’s draft. The Miami Dolphins had to forfeit their first-round pick after an investigation revealed they violated league policies.
2023 NFL Mock Draft With Trades
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Seattle Seahawks receive pick 1. Chicago Bears receive picks 5, 20, 37, 2024 second-round pick.
1) Seattle Seahawks (via Bears) – Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)
Geno Smith had a career year in his first season as Seattle’s starter. However, the team shouldn’t count on the 32-year-old quarterback to repeat his play moving forward. With three picks in the top 37 selections thanks to the Denver Broncos, now is the time for the Seahawks to get their next franchise quarterback.
2) Houston Texans – CJ Stroud (QB – Ohio State)
Had the Texans lost the Week 18 matchup to the Indianapolis Colts, they would have secured the No. 1 pick and Bryce Young. However, Stroud isn’t a bad consolation prize. The former Ohio State Buckeye should start Week 1, as Davis Mills is clearly not the answer.
3) Arizona Cardinals – Will Anderson (EDGE – Alabama)
Between Kyler Murray’s knee injury and the new general manager, a quarterback isn’t completely out of the question for the Cardinals with this pick. However, Anderson is arguably the best player in this draft class. After losing Chandler Jones last offseason and now J.J. Watt, Arizona needs to replenish its pass-rushing unit.
4) Indianapolis Colts – Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)
Depending on which rumor you read, the Colts are in love with one of the top three quarterbacks. After having a different opening-day starter for the past several years, Indianapolis wants to find the guy of the future this year. Levis is arguably the most polarizing prospect in the draft, which means he’s the perfect selection for Jim Irsay and the Colts.
5) Chicago Bears (via Seahawks, Denver) – Jalen Carter (DL – Georgia)
Thanks to the run at quarterbacks, the Bears slide back and still get their hands on Carter. Chicago would have taken Carter or Will Anderson if they had stayed put with the first overall pick. Therefore, getting one of the two top defensive players and three extra significant draft picks means the Bears already won this mock draft.
6) Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles) – Joey Porter (CB – Penn State)
Had one of the top three quarterbacks still been available, the Lions would consider them with this pick. Unfortunately for them, the two blue-chip defensive players are also off the board. After missing 23 games over the first two years of his career, Jeff Okudah played 15 games this season, totaling seven passes defended, a career-high. However, the Lions still need to build up their secondary, especially with Justin Jefferson in the division.
7) Las Vegas Raiders – Peter Skoronski (OT – Northwestern)
The Raiders will need to address the quarterback position with Derek Carr on his way out the door. However, they are expected to add a veteran and not draft a rookie in the first round. While this team has plenty of holes on the roster, the offensive line is at the top of the list. Whether he plays tackle or guard, Skoronski would be arguably the best Las Vegas offensive lineman as a rookie.
8) Atlanta Falcons – Tyree Wilson (EDGE – Texas Tech)
Atlanta will be an interesting team to watch this offseason. Did Desmond Ridder do enough in games as a rookie to earn the starter spot in 2023, or will the Falcons make a blockbuster move for a quarterback like Lamar Jackson? Assuming this pick doesn’t get traded, expect Atlanta to focus on defense after spending five of their past six first-round picks on offense. Wilson doesn’t have the same level of production as Will Anderson. Yet, his ceiling might be higher.
9) Carolina Panthers – Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)
Similar to the Falcons, the Panthers have an offseason full of questions ahead of them. Did Sam Darnold do enough for the team to re-sign him this offseason, or will they trade for a veteran quarterback? The wildcard in the quarterback situation is Matt Corral. Last year’s third-round pick didn’t play as a rookie because of a foot injury. Regardless, pairing Murphy with Brian Burns will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.
10) Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans) – Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)
The Eagles are currently favored to win the Super Bowl and still have a top-10 draft pick, thanks to the Saints. Typically Philadelphia invests their first-round pick on the offensive or defensive line. However, the team turns their attention to the secondary with the top three edge rushers off the board. James Bradberry is a free agent in March, while Darius Slay recently turned 32 years old.
11) Tennessee Titans – Paris Johnson (OT – Ohio State)
After starting the season with a 7-3 record, the Titans lost seven straight games to end the year and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018. While injuries played a massive role in their collapse, the offensive line needs help. Taylor Lewan has missed 30 games over the past three years. Meanwhile, the right tackle spot needs to be upgraded.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Detroit Lions receive pick 12. Houston Texans receive picks 18, 48, 2024 second-round pick.
12) Detroit Lions (via Texans, Cleveland) – Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)
Time to throw another trade into the mock draft. Last year the Lions proved they would be aggressive during that draft when they moved up from pick 32 to the 12th overall pick. Detroit moved up to select Jameson Williams despite knowing he would barely play as a rookie. Similarly, they move ahead of a few potential quarterback-needy teams to grab Richardson. Jared Goff could start the entire 2023 season before handing the job to the Florida star in 2024.
13) New York Jets – Bryan Bresee (DL – Clemson)
The Jets will be in the market for a veteran quarterback this offseason. While that is their top need, New York needs to address the interior of the defensive line. Sheldon Rankins, Solomon Thomas, and Nathan Shepard will be free agents in March. Meanwhile, Quinnen Williams is a free agent after the 2023 season and could reset the defensive tackle market this offseason. Assuming he’s back in New York for the long haul, pairing Williams with Bresee would give the Jets an unstoppable duo.
14) New England Patriots – Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)
Hopefully, hiring Bill O’Brien will fix most of New England’s problems on offense. However, the offensive line needs some work. Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn is a free agent, while New England has four other free agents on the offensive line. Furthermore, Trent Brown could be a cap casualty. Releasing the veteran offensive tackle would create over $10 million in cap space for the Patriots.
15) Green Bay Packers – Brian Branch (DB – Alabama)
Whether Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love starts next year, the Green Bay offense will be under a microscope all year. While the team will need wide receiver help, with Allen Lazard likely leaving in free agency this offseason, the Packers haven’t spent a first-round pick on a wide receiver since 2002. Instead, they will probably focus on defense as they did a year ago, using both first-round selections on that side of the ball. The safety position could look drastically different next year in Green Bay, as Adrian Amos is a free agent and Darnell Savage had a rough 2022 season.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Chicago Bears receive pick 16. Washington Commanders receive picks 20, 64.
16) Chicago Bears (via Commanders) – Jordan Addison (WR – USC)
After making several trades during the season and again to start this mock draft, the Bears are at it again! By flipping the Commanders their early third-round pick, Chicago leaps over a pair of potential wide receiver needy teams to grab their top guy at the position. Pairing Addison with Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool will give Justin Fields an excellent trio of wide receivers to grow with over the next few years.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers – Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)
Mike Tomlin deserves more coach of the year hype than he has gotten this season. The Steelers won six of their final seven games. They were a tiebreaker away from making the playoffs despite having only 12 passing touchdowns this year, the fewest in the NFL. While Kenny Pickett had only seven passing touchdowns as a rookie, the team has high expectations for him next year. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh turns its attention to the secondary, where Cameron Sutton and five other defensive backs will hit the open market in March.
18) Houston Texans (via Lions) – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio State)
Even after moving back with the Lions and adding a pair of second-round picks, the Texans still get their guy at wide receiver. While he struggled this year because of injuries, the former Buckeye star wide receiver was unstoppable in 2021, totaling 95 receptions for 1,606 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. C.J. Stroud and Smith-Njigba were an electric duo in college, so there is no reason to break them up in the NFL.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Trenton Simpson (LB – Clemson)
The Buccaneers could undergo massive changes this offseason. Tom Brady likely won’t be back next year, leaving Tampa Bay looking for a replacement quarterback. Depending on whether the team undergoes a rebuilding process or not, veterans like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin could be on the trade block. More importantly, Lavonte David is a free agent, and at 33 years old, he likely won’t be back next season. Pairing Simpson with Devin White would give the Buccaneers an excellent 1-2 punch at linebacker.
20) Washington Commanders (via Bears, Seahawks) – Cam Smith (CB – South Carolina)
Reportedly Washington has told potential offensive coordinator candidates that Sam Howell will be the team’s starting quarterback next season. Whether you believe the fifth-round rookie is the guy of the future or not, there isn’t a quarterback worth taking with this pick. Instead, the Commanders turn their attention to the secondary. Kendall Fuller is entering the final year of his deal, while the rest of the unit was wildly inconsistent in 2022.
21) Los Angeles Chargers – Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)
On paper, the Chargers don’t have many holes. However, one position they could upgrade is tight end. Gerald Everett was solid in his first year with the team but not good enough to go into next season as the unquestioned starter. More importantly, he is entering the final year of his contract while backup Donald Parham Jr. is a free agent in March. Furthermore, fantasy players would love to see Justin Herbert paired up with the best tight end in the draft class.
22) Baltimore Ravens – Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)
Regardless of whether Lamar Jackson is back in 2023 and beyond or who the new offensive coordinator will be, the Ravens desperately need wide receiver help. When you need to count on Demarcus Robinson and 36 years old DeSean Jackson, your wide receiver unit is a disaster. Hopefully, Rashod Bateman returns at 100% and can have a third-year breakout in 2023. However, Baltimore still needs to give him a running mate on the other side after trading away Marquise Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Philadelphia Eagles receive pick 23. Minnesota Vikings receive picks 31, 95, 2024 fourth-round pick.
23) Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings) – Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)
Philadelphia using a first-round pick on a running back, let alone trading two mid-round picks to secure a running back, sounds like crazy talk. However, Miles Sanders is a free agent this offseason. Coming off a career year with 11 rushing touchdowns, the Eagles likely won’t re-sign him as they need to save money for Jalen Hurts’ massive extension. Meanwhile, Robinson is the best running back prospect since Christian McCaffrey and can be a mismatch nightmare on the ground and in the passing game for opposing defenses. Robinson is worthy of a top-five pick if not for the position he plays.
24) Jacksonville Jaguars – Nolan Smith (EDGE – Georgia)
After making the playoffs for the first time since 2017, the Jaguars’ future is bright. However, they have some holes on the roster to fill. Edge rusher Josh Allen is entering the final year of his contract. More importantly, Arden Key and Dawuane Smoot will be free agents in March after combining for 9.5 sacks this season. Jacksonville will need to replenish its depth, with at least one likely playing elsewhere next year.
25) New York Giants – Kelee Ringo (CB – Georgia)
The Giants head into the offseason with two massive three agents to re-sign: Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Assuming they can keep both players, New York should use their first-round pick on either a wide receiver or a defensive back. The Giants turn to Ringo with the three first-round graded wide receivers off the board. New York has four defensive backs scheduled to hit the open market in March, including cornerback Fabian Moreau.
26) Dallas Cowboys – O’Cyrus Torrence (iOL – Florida)
Following their embarrassing playoff performance against the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys have plenty to address in the offseason. However, one under-the-radar need is the offensive line. 41-year-old Jason Peters probably won’t be around next year. Meanwhile, Terence Steele is a free agent and suffered a torn ACL this season. Furthermore, Zack Martin turns 33 in November and could be a cap casualty after the 2023 season.
27) Buffalo Bills – Anton Harrison (OT – Oklahoma)
While the Bills need to address their No. 2 wide receiver spot, there isn’t one worth the pick on the board. Instead, Buffalo turns their attention to the offensive line. Josh Allen got sacked 33 times during the regular season and eight more times during the playoffs. Dion Dawkins had 12 penalties during the regular season, the fourth-most in the NFL. Meanwhile, Spencer Brown gave up eight pressures in two playoff games.
28) Cincinnati Bengals – Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)
The Bengals will head into the offseason with over $40 million in cap space. However, the team has several defensive starters set to hit the open market. Furthermore, they will have to give Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins massive contract extensions soon. Thus, Hayden Hurst might be the odd man out and sign elsewhere this offseason. If he leaves, Kincaid would be an excellent replacement.
29) Denver Broncos (via Miami, San Francisco) – Jahmyr Gibbs (RB – Alabama)
Denver’s focus right now is on hiring a new head coach. The reported frontrunner is Sean Payton, but the Saints still own his rights. So, the Broncos will have to trade for Payton’s rights before signing him to a new deal. Reportedly, this pick will head to New Orleans in return for the head coach. However, don’t be surprised if the Broncos use their pick on a running back if they keep it. Javonte Williams suffered a severe knee injury in Week 4. Furthermore, the team has always valued having a 1-2 punch at running back.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Arizona Cardinals receive picks 30, 122. Kansas City Chiefs receive DeAndre Hopkins.
30) Arizona Cardinals (via Chiefs) – Darnell Wright (OT – Tennessee)
While the Kansas City offense hasn’t struggled this year without Tyreek Hill, that doesn’t mean the team should look to upgrade their wide receiver core. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a free agent, while the Chiefs can release Marquez Valdes-Scantling and save $7 million in cap space this offseason. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are undergoing a mini rebuild this offseason and will reportedly trade the veteran receiver. Adding their next franchise left tackle for an aging wide receiver is an excellent move for Arizona.
31) Minnesota Vikings (via Eagles) – Emmanuel Forbes (CB – Mississippi State)
Even after trading back and adding a pair of mid-round picks, the Vikings still fill their top need on defense. Minnesota surrendered 4,515 passing yards during the regular season, the second-most in the NFL. Furthermore, they gave up 301 passing yards to Daniel Jones in their playoff loss and 334 yards in the regular season matchup. Those two totals were two of his three highest this year. Meanwhile, the Vikings have several cornerbacks scheduled to hit the open market in March, including starters Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan.
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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.