Sam Farmer's final 2023 NFL mock draft: Four QBs set to go in the first round

There could be four (or more) quarterbacks selected in the opening round of the NFL draft Thursday evening, and this mock has three going in the first five picks.

The big surprise this contemplates is Seattle taking a passer in the No. 5 spot, even though the Seahawks already have a starter in Geno Smith and plenty of other needs. But Florida’s Anthony Richardson is a freakish prospect who could be too enticing for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to pass up.

Another eye-opener in this mock is Philadelphia selecting Texas running back Bijan Robinson at No. 10, which would go against the grain for the Eagles. They’re always looking to fortify their offensive and defensive lines.

Both Seattle and Philadelphia have two selections in the first round, so that’s two at-bats to address their various areas of need.

One way the 2023 NFL draft could unfold:

1. Carolina Panthers — QB Bryce Young, Alabama: The 5-foot-10 Young has all the qualities the Panthers want except ideal height.

2. Houston Texans — Edge Will Anderson, Alabama: The Texans need a quarterback, but if they can’t get Young they will fill another need.

3. Arizona Cardinals — DT Jalen Carter, Georgia: Carter might be a character risk, but his upside makes him worth the gamble.

4. Indianapolis Colts — QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State: Maybe the talented Stroud will go against the trend of Ohio State quarterbacks struggling in the pros.

5. Seattle Seahawks — QB Anthony Richardson, Florida: Richardson, raw but super athletic, can learn and mature at the elbow of Smith.

Illinois defensive back Devon Witherspoon runs with the ball during a game against Nebraska in November 2020.

Illinois defensive back Devon Witherspoon runs with the ball during a game against Nebraska in November 2020.

(Nati Harnik / Associated Press)

6. Detroit Lions — CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois: The Lions only have one cornerback, free agent Cam Sutton, signed beyond the 2023 season.

7. Las Vegas Raiders — CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State: The Raiders get a big, physical corner and an NFL legacy player who will help them right away.

8. Atlanta Falcons — Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech: Wilson has huge potential but might not go right at the top because he has yet to face elite tackles with regularity.

9. Chicago Bears — Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia: A pass rusher is the most pressing area of need for the Bears, who need to improve both lines.

10. Philadelphia Eagles — RB Bijan Robinson, Texas: This defies logic. The Eagles have not taken a running back in the first round since 1986. But Robinson is just that good.

11. Tennessee Titans — OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State: Johnson can start off on the right side and ultimately be a replacement for Taylor Lewan, who is already gone.

12. Houston Texans — WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State: This is high for a guy who’s primarily a slot receiver, but the Texans really like what he could bring them.

13. Green Bay — WR Jordan Addison, USC: The Packers do for Jordan Love what they didn’t for Aaron Rodgers and immediately get him elite help at wide receiver.

14. New England — CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon: The ultra-athletic and versatile Gonzalez is just the type of player Bill Belichick covets.

Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer runs past Boston College defensive back Jaiden Woodbey.

Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer runs past Boston College defensive back Jaiden Woodbey during a game in November.

(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

15. New York Jets — T Broderick Jones, Georgia: Now that they have a 39-year-old quarterback, the Jets have to protect him.

16. Washington Commanders — Safety Brian Branch, Alabama: The versatile Branch can play all over the field, and there’s an opening after the Commanders cut Bobby McCain.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers — DE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa: Van Ness could play inside and outside for Pittsburgh and would be formidable when teamed with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.

18. Detroit Lions — OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern: The Lions have their tackles, but Skoronski could play in the interior until the team has to make a decision on left tackle Taylor Decker.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — QB Will Levis, Kentucky: The Buccaneers need to get a quarterback they can develop. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker would be interesting here too.

20. Seattle Seahawks — Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson: Murphy on one side, Uchenna Nwosu on the other? That would be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.

21. Los Angeles Chargers — TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah: Ideally for Justin Herbert & Co., Kincaid could be his team’s answer to Travis Kelce and George Kittle. OK, that’s a big ask.

22. Baltimore — WR Zay Flowers, Boston College: Flowers instantly helps whoever is at quarterback for the Ravens and can learn from Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor.

23. Minnesota — WR Quentin Johnston, Texas Christian: Johnston would ensure that teams couldn’t be so laser-focused on Justin Jefferson.

24. Jacksonville — TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame: Mayer would be great value here and an insurance policy for a team still working on an Evan Engram deal.

Florida offensive lineman O'Cyrus Torrence plays against Vanderbilt in November.

Florida offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence plays against Vanderbilt in November.

(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

25. New York Giants — Guard O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida: Torrence could step right in and replace guard Mark Glowinski and would be a solid Daniel Jones protector.

26. Dallas Cowboys — WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee: One of the Cowboys’ needs is a true No. 2 receiver to pair with CeeDee Lamb.

27. Buffalo — MLB Jack Campbell, Iowa: Campbell could be a replacement for Tremaine Edmunds and is a mature leader.

28. Cincinnati — DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh: The Bengals haven’t taken a defensive lineman in the opening round since 2001, but they’re hurting in that area.

29. New Orleans Saints — DT Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern: Two Northwestern guys in the opening round? The Saints need help on their defensive line.

30. Philadelphia Eagles — Edge Keion White, Georgia Tech: The Eagles led the NFL in sacks last season, and look where that got them. They need to restock the shelves.

31. Kansas City Chiefs — OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee: The Chiefs let go of both their tackles this offseason. But if a receiver such as Zay Flowers were around at this spot …

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