NFL mock draft 2.0: Steelers think outside the box with run on cornerbacks early
By Tommy Jaggi
Every year, the NFL Draft is full of randomness and bizarre moves that we can't predict. 2023 will be no different. In fact, there might be even more reason to believe the draft will turn out this way. With only a few elite prospects, there isn't a huge talent gap from the 10th player to the 30th. The Pittsburgh Steelers, meanwhile, could get caught in a very tough situation.
Most believe that the Steelers will be targeting an offensive tackle or cornerback with the 17th overall pick, but a run of talented prospects flying off the board could force them to think outside the box. As always, my mock drafts are a prediction of what each team will do; not necessarily who I would take. Here's what I have each team doing in the second version of my 2023 NFL mock draft.
1. Carolina Panthers C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Since the end of the 2022 college football season, I thought that C.J. Stroud deserved to be the top quarterback selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. After the Panthers traded the Bears for the first overall pick, I believe this will be the case. Stroud checks nearly every box at the position and is the safest of a strong QB group this year. I would expect to hear his name called first on draft day. He gives the Panthers an immediate upgrade, and they can finally fix their cringeworthy QB situation.
2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
This is a player who has been routinely mocked to the Houston Texas, and I don't think that will change with the NFL Draft on the horizon. Though I certainly have my reservations about Bryce Young's outlier size and thin frame, he's a productive quarterback with fantastic accuracy and ability to improvise. He will have a chance to rise above. Houston could throw a curveball at us here, but I would assume Young will be the pick.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
In my first full mock back on March 3rd, I slotted Jalen Carter to the Cardinals with the 3rd overall pick, but the closer we get to the draft, the more Carter's character seems to be a major red flag. Because of that, I have Arizona going with a comparably great defensive prospect in Alabama edge defender Will Anderson. Andersson has a remarkably high floor and could be a steady presence on an otherwise stagnant defense for a very long time.
4. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
I think this could be a toss-up here, as Will Levis isn't out of the question. However, I think that Anthony Richardson has been one of the fastest-rising players in the draft thanks to his remarkable physical tools. He has a chance to be another scary quarterback in the AFC if he pans out for the Indianapolis Colts.
5. Seattle Seahawks: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
The Seahawks have to get back to their roots on defense, and adding a long, talented pass rusher like Tyree Wilson is a great start. Most view Wilson as a consensus top-10 pick this year, and Seattle may view him as the best player on the board if the draft lays out like this. Jalen Carter is another option considered, but several teams near the top are rumored to be very concerned with his character.