After the divisional spherical of the NFL postseason concluded Sunday, solely 4 groups stay within the hunt for the Super Bowl title. For the remainder of the league, it’s on to the offseason and the 2023 draft.
Here are The Baltimore Sun’s projections for the primary spherical, which begins April 27 in Kansas City.
Notes: The order for picks 29-31 are projected. The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round decide following an investigation into whether or not the staff violated league insurance policies pertaining to the integrity of the sport.
1. Indianapolis Colts (projected commerce by way of Chicago): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
It appears doubtless the Bears will look to commerce out of the primary decide, however who will make the leap? After placing out with veteran quarterbacks in current seasons, the Colts make the transfer to amass a younger star in Young, who’s performed at a constantly excessive stage regardless of his listed 6-foot, 194-pound body.
2. Houston Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
This is a wonderful comfort prize for a staff that regarded like a shoo-in for the highest decide a lot of the season. The 6-3, 218-pound Stroud is coming off maybe the most effective efficiency of his profession, finishing 23 of 34 passes for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns in a slender loss to Georgia within the College Football Playoff semifinals.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
If the Cardinals don’t commerce down, they’ll have their decide of the highest defenders within the draft. The 6-4, 243-pound Anderson is a dominant go rusher, racking up 207 pressures in three faculty seasons, in line with Pro Football Focus.
4. Chicago Bears (projected commerce by way of Indianapolis): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
While the Bears must encompass quarterback Justin Fields with extra playmakers, upgrading the protection needs to be the highest precedence right here. The 6-3, 300-pound Carter is a game-wrecking pressure within the inside who can each rush the passer and cease the run.
5. Carolina Panthers (projected commerce by way of Seattle, by way of Denver): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Depending on who the Panthers rent as coach, a veteran quarterback may very well be in play. If not, buying and selling up for a star prospect could be the most suitable choice. The 6-3, 232-pound Levis is a big gamble contemplating his excessive variety of turnovers, however he provides an intriguing talent set that may very well be franchise-altering if he reaches his full potential.
6. Detroit Lions (by way of L.A. Rams): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
The Lions are one of the crucial intriguing groups of the offseason, and the place they sit within the draft has loads to do with it. Do they give the impression of being to improve at quarterback and commerce up? If they keep put, the 6-foot, 180-pound Witherspoon seems like an ideal match given his aggressive play model.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Peter Skoronski, OT/G, Northwestern
The wager right here is that Tom Brady results in Las Vegas along with his former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, which makes upgrading the offensive line essential to guard the 45-year-old quarterback. The 6-4, 315-pound Skoronski is a dependable plug-and-play choice at both deal with or guard.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
This decide is dependent upon what the Falcons resolve to do at quarterback heading into Year 3 below coach Arthur Smith. Do they draft one, experience with third-round decide Desmond Ridder or make a transfer for a veteran? No matter what they resolve, they’ll must bolster a protection that was one of many league’s worst at pressuring the quarterback. The 6-6, 276-pound Wilson may help with that.
9. Seattle Seahawks (projected commerce by way of Carolina): Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
The Seahawks commerce down and nonetheless find yourself filling considered one of their largest positions of want. Although he’s nonetheless a bit uncooked as a go rusher, the 6-5, 275-pound Murphy is an excellent athlete who can develop right into a dominant defender.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (by way of New Orleans): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Eagles have a number of high defenders hitting the open market this offseason, together with Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry. The 6-2, 201-pound Gonzalez is a clean playmaker with the dimensions and expertise to be a lockdown nook.
11. Tennessee Titans: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Two starters on the Titans’ offensive line are getting into free company, and longtime left deal with Taylor Lewan may very well be a salary-cap casualty. The 6-6, 310-pound Johnson didn’t enable a sack on 449 pass-blocking snaps in his first season at left deal with, in line with PFF.
12. Houston Texans (by way of Cleveland): Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Veteran huge receiver Brandin Cooks says he doesn’t need to be a part of a rebuild, and 2022 draft decide John Metchie III continues to be recovering from a type of leukemia. The 6-4, 215-pound Johnston is an explosive playmaker who would give Stroud the vertical menace he must assault defenses downfield.
13. New York Jets: Brian Branch, S/CB, Alabama
Much like security Kyle Hamilton final 12 months, Branch is taken into account one of many draft’s greatest prospects, no matter place. The 6-foot, 193-pound nickel again can be a superb slot in a secondary that’s shortly turning into one of many league’s greatest behind star nook Sauce Gardner.
14. New England Patriots: Jordan Addison, WR, Southern California
The Patriots have one of many worst teams of huge receivers within the league and will lose high goal Jakobi Meyers in free company. The 6-foot, 175-pound Addison has been extremely productive at each Pittsburgh and USC, catching 159 passes for two,468 yards and 25 touchdowns over the previous two seasons.
15. Green Bay Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Packers have been reluctant to spend excessive draft picks on offensive weapons, however they may make an exception right here contemplating they’ve only one tight finish below contract in 2023. The 6-4, 265-pound Mayer is as pro-ready as they arrive and would give Green Bay one other dynamic receiving menace to enrich its younger wideouts.
16. Washington Commanders: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Standout cornerback Kendall Fuller has only one 12 months left on his contract and the gamers behind him have been inconsistent at greatest. The 6-2, 194-pound Porter is usually a little too aggressive at instances, however the son of the previous Steelers star has the instruments to be a sticky defender in protection.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Whether it’s upgrading at left deal with or on the inside, the Steelers may use some assist up entrance. The 6-4, 310-pound Jones excelled in his first season at left deal with for the defending champion Bulldogs as each a run and go blocker.
18. Detroit Lions: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The Lions may need extra vital wants, however with Jamaal Williams getting into free company this offseason and De’Andre Swift not far behind, working again is sneakily excessive on the checklist. The 6-foot, 220-pound Robinson is a broken-tackle machine who many evaluators take into account worthy of a top-10 choice. He’d be an immediate star behind the Lions’ wonderful offensive line.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
It appears as if Tom Brady’s time is up in Tampa Bay, and there may very well be fairly an exodus of expertise behind him in free company. If the Bucs resolve to hit the reset button, the 6-4, 231-pound Richardson is an intriguing prospect to construct round. He’s nonetheless rising as a passer however is an elite athlete who may make a Jalen Hurts-type leap within the NFL.
20. Seattle Seahawks: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
There’s nothing improper with double-dipping on the similar place while you want as a lot assist because the Seahawks do on the line of defense. The 6-5, 275-pound Van Ness is a quick riser who could be a top-15 lock by the point he checks on the scouting mix.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Star huge receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen have each struggled to remain on the sphere, and there are few dependable choices behind them. The 6-1, 200-pound Smith-Njigba is an excellent route runner who may thrive within the slot for quarterback Justin Herbert.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
If the Ravens can’t discover a technique to convey again veteran Marcus Peters, cornerback turns into one of many staff’s high offseason wants. The 6-foot, 188-pound Smith is an instinctive participant who broke up 15 passes and recorded 4 interceptions on 70 targets over the previous two seasons, in line with PFF.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Three of the Vikings’ high 4 cornerbacks are hitting free company, together with veteran Patrick Peterson. While the 6-foot, 180-pound Forbes doesn’t have best dimension, he has 14 interceptions and 17 pass-breakups in three seasons as a starter.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
While the Jaguars have two constructing blocks on the sting in Josh Allen and Travon Walker, they may use some reinforcements within the center. The 6-5, 305-pound Bresee may slip just a little due to a beforehand torn ACL and inconsistent manufacturing, however the former high total recruit out of Damascus is a disruptive pressure when wholesome.
25. New York Giants: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
For the Giants to take the following step and compete with the highest groups within the NFC, they’ll want to enhance one of many worst linebacker models within the league. The 6-3, 240-pound Simpson is a rangy athlete who additionally has expertise masking the slot in Clemson’s protection.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
The Cowboys’ 19-12 divisional-round loss to the 49ers confirmed how few playmakers they’ve on offense in addition to huge receiver CeeDee Lamb and working again Tony Pollard. The 5-10, 172-pound Flowers has elite pace and might separate from defenders down the sphere.
27. Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
A 27-10 divisional-round loss to the Bengals uncovered plenty of the Bills’ weaknesses, particularly within the trenches. The 6-5, 347-pound Torrence may assist Buffalo set up some toughness up entrance and hold some stress off star quarterback Josh Allen.
28. Denver Broncos (by way of San Francisco, by way of Miami): Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor
Starting inside linemen DeShawn Williams and Dre’Mont Jones are hitting free company, probably thinning a line of defense that has already misplaced Shelby Harris and Bradley Chubb. The 6-4, 357-pound Ika may help solidify the entrance seven whereas providing some pass-rushing potential.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
The Chiefs have 5 gamers taking on almost $140 million in cap house in 2023, so it’s extra vital than ever to fill out the roster by means of the draft. One of these gamers, defensive finish Frank Clark, may very well be launched in a cost-cutting transfer, liberating up a spot for the 6-3, 235-pound Smith to step in and contribute instantly.
30. Cincinnati Bengals: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M
Safeties Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell and cornerback Eli Apple are set to hit free company this offseason, leaving some potential holes within the secondary. The 6-3, 195-pound Johnson is a flexible protection man and powerful tackler who would match seamlessly in a blossoming defensive backfield.
31. Philadelphia Eagles: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
The Eagles’ line of defense has been one of many largest causes for his or her success this season, nevertheless it may lose key contributors like Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave in free company. The 6-3, 250-pound Ojulari, a gradual contributor for LSU over three seasons, can be a welcome addition to the rotation.
Teams with out a first-round decide
36. Los Angeles Rams: Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State
40. New Orleans Saints: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
42. Cleveland Browns: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
51. Miami Dolphins: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
100. San Francisco 49ers: Luke Wypler, G/C, Ohio State