Most years, it’s not a question of if a quarterback run will happen in the NFL Draft, but when. At first glance, it could happen in early 2023.
That’s unless a potentially elite crop of defensive prospects (and perhaps a handful of attacking tackles or skill-positioned players) have their say. With two weeks left in the regular season and the draft starting to come together, we asked our team of beat writers and draft experts how the top 10 might pan out. Will the Texans go QB to No. 1? Should the Seahawks or the Lions also consider this position?
Here is our current best guess:
1. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Young’s height (listed at 6-foot-0 and 194 pounds) is one reason there’s no consensus on the best quarterback in this draft. There’s little debate, however, about whether the Texans should address that position here. If Houston has decided 24 starts in Davis Mills’ career, he’s most effective in a two-quarterback offense with Jeff Driskelthen Mills, a 2021 third-round pick, is clearly not the long-term answer.
The Texans and general manager Nick Caserio haven’t been afraid to operate against conventional wisdom (see: their last two head coaching hires), but I’ll go for the relatively obvious choice here. Young is draft expert Dane Brugler’s highest-rated prospect at that position and the No. 3 prospect overall. —Aaron Reiss
Perfect. Product. Placement. ✊
.@_bryce_young ▶️ @c7_brookspic.twitter.com/jL9Xfu9rU4
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) November 26, 2022
2. Chicago Bears: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
If you listen to Bears first-year coach Matt Eberflus, you should know how important the three-technique defensive tackle position is to his defensive scheme. Just last week, Eberflus described the technique of threes as “the engine that makes everything work”. It’s not easy getting past Alabama pass thrower Will Anderson Jr., but Carter can be that engine for the Bears defense going forward. He’s a mean, do-it-all lineman in the mold of Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. They are actually from the same high school (Apopka) in Florida. Carter is also the best player on the best college football team and arguably has been for the past two years. —Adam Jahns
Jalen Carter just threw his man aside to make the save. pic.twitter.com/N9J0c2Rjwm
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 3, 2022
3. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos): Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama
The Seahawks desperately need a game-changing passing thrower. They haven’t had a double-digit sack since Frank Clark in 2018. Outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (nine sacks in 15 games) is expected to reach that level before the end of the year, but his presence alone hasn’t prevented Seattle to be average when it comes to putting pressure on the passer. The Seahawks are so in need of a dominant upside to partner Nwosu that they start 35-year-old Bruce Irvin. He played well, to be fair, but the fact that they had to call Irvin off the couch to play 54% of the defensive snaps shows just how serious the need for plug-and-play talent is. — Michael Shawn Dugar
Will Anderson Jr.: The Terminator 😤 pic.twitter.com/QuV4SvMrBA
—College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 1, 2022
4. Arizona Cardinals: Kelee Ringo, BC, Georgia
Since Kliff Kingsbury took over as head coach, only one of Arizona’s first-round picks has gone to a player in a prime position (Kyler Murray, No. 1 in 2019). With a GM change on the horizon, it’s time for the Cardinals to stop messing around with high-value draft opportunities, and Ringo is the best non-quarterback available here.
Over the past four seasons, Arizona ranks 25th in EPA defensive passing, 29th in opposing passer ratings, 28th in first downs allowed per pass, and 30th in touchdowns allowed per pass. Ringo would give that defense the locking corner it’s been missing since the peak years of Patrick Peterson. He would also help maximize Byron Murphy in the slot/on secondary options and go a long way to repairing a defense that has been trying to claw its way to success. — Diante Lee
Kelee Ringo has a knack for making big plays in big games. pic.twitter.com/85PLnmrrYT
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 5, 2022
5. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
The Colts must make a decision: Is Levis the top quarterback who had scouts salivating earlier in his Kentucky career, or is he the player who struggled in 2022? He looks like the piece: a prototype with height, arm strength and mobility. But this inconsistent strip may give some scouts pause. It’s also worth noting that Levis lost his primary target, most of his offensive line and offensive coordinator in 2022, but he also only had one game with 250+ yards in 15 starts against defenses. of the SEC. Still, he has all the traits, which is why he’s been in the top 10 for quite a while. — Bob Kravitz
Three touchdowns. Everyone is running for @will_levis. Three rushing touchdowns are his career high.
Kentucky 24, Louisville 7 (1:53, 2Q) | #For the team 😼🏈
📺 – ESPN2 – https://t.co/3uFZiU8nbg pic.twitter.com/AxtIsfEebG
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 28, 2021
6. Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
Everything in Atlanta hinges on Desmond Ridder’s development over the past two games. If the rookie quarterback shows he’s the man for the job for (at least) 2023, then the Falcons don’t have to add another young player to that position. Atlanta used a second-round pick (Arnold Ekibetie) and a third-round pick (DeAngelo Malone) on top rushers last year, but that hasn’t helped much yet. While Ebiketie and Malone have moved up, Atlanta is still last in the league in sack percentage, at 3.9%. Only six teams over the past five years have had a lower sack percentage and one of them was last year’s Falcons (3.1%). Defensive tackle and cornerback would also be attractive here. — Josh Kendal
Forced fumble ➡️ big race ➡️ TD❗️
Clemson turns defense into offense 💪 pic.twitter.com/92FfE0ZOd5
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 16, 2022
7. Detroit Lions (via Rams): Christian Gonzalez, BC, Oregon
This is… not an ideal board for Lions. We would have been happy if Ringo was available here, but he wasn’t. Murphy was also an option, as was Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee. But the emergence of rookie James Houston has reduced the need for another passing thrower and general manager Brad Holmes remains high on DT Levi Onwuzurike, a 2021 second-round pick who couldn’t stay healthy . Since there are no business scenarios here, the Lions are kind of stuck. However, the corner is a clear and obvious need, so Gonzalez — which matches what defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn likes to do — is the choice. — Colton Pouncy
GONZO!@chrisgonzo28 with his second pick of the season and a 36-yard runback on his return to Boulder!
📺 https://t.co/nctuQQF320#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/ItCvCktKhL
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) November 5, 2022
8. Carolina Panthers: CJ Stroud, quarterback, Ohio State
The Panthers stayed in the hunt for the playoffs thanks to the abysmal state of the NFC South and despite the lack of a franchise quarterback. Sam Darnold is the third QB to start for Carolina this year, after Baker Mayfield and PJ Walker. And while Darnold has played better and protected the ball — his four-game no-turnover streak is the longest of his career — the Panthers should be in the QB market again. It could be trickier if they take the division, which would drop the Panthers to 19th in the draft order (or lower if they win a playoff game).
The Panthers passed on a QB from Ohio State in 2021, when they took Jaycee Horn to No. 8 while Justin Fields was available. It is not inconceivable that they will make the same decision again. — Joe Nobody
CJ Stroud had a ridiculous first half performance: 29-31, 393 passing yards and 6 touchdowns 😳 pic.twitter.com/C1row39Vz6
—ESPN (@espn) November 20, 2021
9. Las Vegas Raiders: Cam Smith, BC, SC
We were a little bit tempted by Florida QB Anthony Richardson. Despite all his physical qualities, he is simply not precise enough on the short and intermediate courses.
Reed: Derek Carr takes the fall, but the pressure is now on the brass of the Raiders
Meanwhile, Smith checks all the boxes with his frame (6-1, 187 pounds), long arms, sticky coverage, ball skills and positional versatility. Smith has played outside, inside, and even college safety. Opposing teams have shunned him this season — he’s allowed just 15 catches on 32 targets for 184 yards — but the energy and leadership he plays with still jumps out. — vic tafur
. @yjbcam join the fun!
Interception #️⃣3️⃣ for the defense tonight! 😎 pic.twitter.com/N37zFAf6EW
— Gamecock Soccer (@GamecockFB) September 25, 2022
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints): Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
The Eagles believe in building along the line of scrimmage – 12 of their last 17 first-round picks have either rushed the passer or protected the QB – so a good bet would be the best lineman available. It would be tempting to make an attacking tackle here to find Lane Johnson’s eventual replacement, but Bresee would be a compelling option. Brugler also asked the Eagles to take the Clemson DT at No. 6 in their last mock draft, and for good reason. Combining Bresee with Jordan Davis would give the Eagles some building blocks in the middle of their defensive line, which would be especially valuable given that Javon Hargrave (30 as of Feb) and Fletcher Cox (32, as of Dec. 13) are on the cusp . officers.
Bresee didn’t necessarily have a prolific output at Clemson, and he tore his ACL in 2021, but the former top recruit has the type of physical and athletic profile that’s rare to find. He also brings the versatility of the scheme to play in different lineups for the Eagles. — Zach Berman
Ten Highest-Ranked Players of the Conference Championship Weekend♨️ pic.twitter.com/KRGR2RGvTM
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 6, 2022
(Illustration: Sean Reilly / Athleticism;
Photos: Jay Biggerstaff, Kevin C. Cox, Todd Kirkland, /Getty Images)