2023 NFL mock draft 5.0: Anthony Richardson vaults way up, while Jalen Carter ‘slides’ to team that trades back

The NFL merge is complete and the sprint to the actual 2023 NFL Draft is in full swing. Some players have really noticed that their reserves have increased due to strong performances in Indianapolis, and we are getting closer to becoming the top pick in the draft.

The start of this fictitious project? Combine’s host city is moving forward to get its future franchise quarterback.

Here is a 2023 NFL 5.0 trial draft by Charles McDonald.  (Mo Haidar/Yahoo Sports)
Here is a 2023 NFL 5.0 trial draft by Charles McDonald. (Mo Haidar/Sportzshala Sports)

1. Indianapolis Colts (via Chicago Bears)

Ohio QB CJ Stroud

In this scenario, the Colts send the Bears the fourth, 35th, 106th pick and their 2024 first round pick in exchange for the right to pick their new franchise savior. CJ Stroud has arguably established himself as the best quarterback in the draft thanks to near-perfect training at the combine.

2. Houston Texans

Florida QB Anthony Richardson

Anthony Richardson has shown a powerful game at the combine this year and has arguably established himself as a potential top-five pick. The Texans will use the Shanahan system in Houston under new offensive coordinator Bobby Slovik, and Richardson is giving them a super sports quarterback to run it. That won’t stop the team from signing a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo, leaving them in a much better position than last season.

3. Arizona Cardinals

Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.

Arizona badly needs a pass rusher if Jonathan Gannon is going to have a successful first season as the team’s head coach. Anderson had a combined workout that fit the ribbon and profiles as a next-level standout. An elite prospect for a team that really needs a player in this position.

4. Chicago Bears (via Colts)

Georgia DL Jalen Carter

This is where Jalen Carter’s “slide” ends. Carter has many questions to answer about his role in the tragic fatal car crash in January, but big players are hard to come by. The Bears are risking elite talent here.

5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos)

Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson

Tyree Wilson has the physique of a superstar edge rusher, something the Seahawks have the luxury of capturing here with the pick they got from the Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade.

6. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams)

Alabama QB Bryce Young

The Lions have plenty to be excited about, but they’re still missing their future quarterback. There are concerns about Bryce Young’s size, but at this stage of the draft, he’s a decent pick.

7. Las Vegas Raiders

Kentucky QB Will Lewis

The last quarterback on the team with probably the biggest quarterback question right now. The Raiders are reportedly not Lamar Jackson or Aaron Rodgers players, so Will Lewis, come on. Of course it makes sense.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Oklahoma FROM Anton Harrison

It looks like the Falcons are going to let Caleb McGary hit free will, opening up a huge hole in the right tackle. Anton Harrison is a young talented offensive player who has every chance of becoming Chris Lindstrom’s All-Pro for a long time in Atlanta.

9. Carolina Panthers

Georgia EJ Nolan Smith

Nolan Smith’s play is somewhat similar to projection, but it’s hard to find cornerbacks who run 40 yards at 4.3. Smith paired with Bryan Burns would give the Panthers a ton of speed.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints)

Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez

The rich get richer. Christian Gonzalez looks like a promising cornerback for a team that doesn’t have many needs on paper. Gonzalez would give the Eagles a closed corner to connect with their defensive line.

11. Tennessee Titans

Northwestern FROM Piotr Skoronski

Left with Taylor Levan, came in with Peter Skoronski. He may not have the ideal arm length for a left tackle, but his film should dispel most of the concerns about his game.

12. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns)

TCU WR Quentin Johnston

A top-notch player with a new quarterback in Richardson. Quentin Johnston is a little raw, but he has the size and athleticism to be an early influencer as he develops his game to the pro level.

TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston joins Anthony Richardson at Houston in this trial draft.  (Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)
TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston joins Anthony Richardson at Houston in this trial draft. (Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

13. New York Jets

Ohio FROM Paris Johnson Jr.

This choice is something of a projection, as Dwayne Brown has decided he’s going to be back for another season in the NFL, but Paris Johnson will give the Jets a little offense insurance – if they even have that choice after the Aaron Rodgers saga. comes to the end.

14. New England Patriots

Georgia OT Broderick Jones

Like most players from Georgia, forward Broderick Jones showed off a rock star at the plant. The Patriots could use offensive talent, and Jones is a good bet to end up as a quality starter.

15. Green Bay Packers

Ohio State WR Jackson Smith-Njigba

Whether Aaron Rodgers stays in Green Bay or not, the Packers need to add more receiver talent. Jackson Smith-Njigba would be great for Christian Watson and Romeo Daubes as they continue to get younger at the receiver.

16. Washington Commanders

Florida G. O’Cyrus Torrens

O’Cyrus Torrens is not a very handsome player, but he is positioned as a ready starter for a team that needs to keep adding offensive talent.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

penn state CB Joey Porter Jr.

The Steelers could add some flair at cornerback with better offensive tackles off the board. Joey Porter Jr would obviously feel right at home in Pittsburgh and would play a valuable role in their defense.

18. Detroit Lions

Maryland CB Deonte Banks

Deonte Banks made some money performing at the mill this year. Banks ticks all the boxes from a physical standpoint and can give the Lions some of the pass defense help they desperately need.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer

Mayer didn’t have the most outstanding combine, but he didn’t perform badly and still looks to be the first tight end off the board. The Buccaneers still need to figure out the situation with their quarterback, but Mayer can help whoever they decide to start immediately.

20. Seattle Seahawks

Boston College WR Zai Flowers

The Seahawks have a quarterback so they can now focus on adding more talent to Geno Smith’s success. This is where they get a player that will pair well with DK Metcalf long term in Zay Flowers.

21. Los Angeles Chargers

Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon

Devon Witherspoon could have gone a lot higher, but the Chargers steal and add Witherspoon to the quarterback’s room, who is already in good shape when everyone is healthy.

22. Baltimore Ravens

USC WR Jordan Addison

Whether Lamar Jackson stays in Baltimore or not, the Ravens need to continue building up their offensive support lineup. Jordan Addison didn’t have the most explosive combination, but he’s a good player who would give Baltimore some much-needed depth.

Jordan Addison of USC would be a good choice for the Baltimore Ravens.  crime, whether or not they're holding Lamar Jackson.  (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
USC’s Jordan Addison would be a good pick for the Baltimore Ravens offense whether or not they keep Lamar Jackson. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

23. Minnesota Vikings

Michigan DL Know Smith

Mazi Smith hasn’t trained on the combine, but he’s still a good defensive player, and at this point in the draft, he could be a good fit for the Vikings.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars

Alabama CB/S Brian Branch

At this point, Brian Branch is a steal for the Jaguars, slipping right into the nickel spot for their protection. Branch would give the Jaguars a defensive versatility they didn’t have last season.

25. New York Giants

Georgia OUR Darnell Washington

Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are back as giants and here they can add a player to help both of them in Darnell Washington. Washington is a powerful blocker, especially in space, and has untapped reception potential.

26. Dallas Cowboys

Iowa EDGE Lucas Van Ness

Lucas Van Ness has the potential to go much higher. He could be a long-term pass rusher with Micah Parsons and will give them a third pass rusher with DeMarcus Lawrence in the near future.

27. Buffalo Bills

Tennessee OL Darnell Wright

Darnell Wright is another talented player in this class of offensive tackle. Wright just blew a combine and has a ton of experience on the hard-passing Tennessee offense.

28. Cincinnati Bengals

Ohio OT Dawand Jones

Bengals need the right tackle. Dawand Jones is the prototype of the right equipment. Makes almost too much sense.

29. New Orleans Saints (via San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos)

Clemson EDGE Miles Murphy

Prospects slide down the board every year. Miles Murphy is in this year’s draft, but he’s in a great position to start right off the bat with good defense.

30. Philadelphia Eagles

Texas RB Sesame Robinson

Christian Gonzalez and Bizhan Robinson are a damn good choice for the Eagles. Robinson established himself as the top running back in the draft, performing well in Indianapolis.

31. Kansas City Chiefs

Georgia CB Keli Ringo

Keli Ringo happens to be last selected in the first round this year, but at this point it’s hard to miss his talent and performance in a high-performance position.

(One selection in the first round was confiscated Miami Dolphins as a result of an NFL rigging investigation.)

Teams with no first round pick

37. Los Angeles Rams

Alabama RB Jamir Gibbs

Here’s the running back for the Rams to be a good running team again next season.

43. Cleveland Browns

Tennessee WR Jalyn Hyatt

Hyatt is a fast wide receiver who will help the Browns create some more big games next season. They’re locked onto Deshawn Watson so they can make his life easier.

52. Miami Dolphins

Ohio IOL Luke Wypler

Depth ahead to aid them in their quest to protect Tua Tagovailoa.

68. Denver Broncos (via Indianapolis Colts)

Stanford QB Tanner McKee

The Broncos find a quarterback to support Russell Wilson.

100. San Francisco 49ers

Georgia S Chris Smith

A smart, durable fuse that can play…


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