Answering big NFL draft questions for teams with top-10 picks
The 2023 NFL draft is in full swing, which means the NFL Draft is fast approaching. This year’s draft is going to be a lot of fun, starting at the very top. The Chicago Bears are “leaning” towards the No. 1 pick trade, sources told Sportzshala’s Adam Schefter. And with several teams in need of quarterbacks making the top 10 in this year’s draft, there’s a lot to be decided here.
Most draft decisions will be made after the unification and free agency, but all 32 teams are already drawing up their draft boards and starting to think through their plans for the first round. Today we will focus only on the first 10 teams to be selected in April, around which there is a lot of intrigue. We asked each of our NFL Nation reporters one big preliminary question about these 10 teams, including positions teams can target and how they might approach their first day picks.
Which prospect best suits the Bears’ plans? Will the Lions use both of their first-round picks on defense? The Falcons are potentially in for one of the best quarterbacks? Let’s dig.
CHI | HOW | ARI | IND | SEA
TO | LV | ATL | CAR | PHI
Chicago Bears, No. 1 overall
Excluding from this the possibility of a reverse exchange, is it really Will Anderson Jr.. or Jalen Carter better fits the Bears’ defensive plans?
Any of them would fit well in coach Matt Eberflux’s 4-3 defense as Chicago was last in sacks (20) and quarterbacks hit (43) in 2022. “the engine that makes everything move” and he had a similar type of player with the Indianapolis Colts in DeForest Buckner. Lost games don’t happen all that often in free agency, so a draft is probably the best way for Chicago to fix this problem.
Anderson, on the other hand, could replace what the Bears had on the brink with Khalil Mak. The Alabama product was one of the best forwards and stoppers in college football, and he could provide immediate defensive momentum. But Carter in the middle of the defensive line seems more appropriate at the moment, and an edge rush should be a top priority for the Bears in free roam.
However, Wednesday morning update here: The Athens-Clark County Police Department has received arrest warrants for Carter in connection with his alleged involvement in a fatal accident involving a teammate, and he will be arrested for reckless driving and racing. Chicago will obviously be keeping an eye on this situation. — Courtney Cronin
Houston Texans, 2nd and 12th overall
How can Texans set up any QB for success?
Houston needs to add more goals and has a second-round number 12 overall. The receiver’s place is a matter of concern, especially since it’s still unclear whether Brandin Cooks, who was the team’s leader in receiving yards (699), will be traded or return after a trade demand in the 2022 season.
But whatever happens to Cooks, the Texans should add another receiver or two in the draft. They were 28th in the WR last season with 2,154 yards. Wide like USC Jordan AddisonBoston College Zai FlowersOhio Jackson Smith-Njigba or TCU Quentin Johnston can make life easier for a new quarterback. – Favorite DJ
Arizona Cardinals, 3rd overall
Is it safe to assume that GM Monty Ossenforth and the Cardinals will pick the best defender on their board here?
You know what they say about guessing. There are some clear defensive needs, so a pass rusher wouldn’t be a shock in third place, especially since Arizona finished with 36 sacks (seventh-fewest in the NFL). The loss of JJ Watt to retirement and the possibility of losing Zach Allen as a free agent should bring a sense of urgency to rebuilding a pass rush that was consistently one of the best in the NFL for years until last season’s fall.
Under Ossenforth, Arizona will move away from the best available player approach and focus on drafting as needed. But “the best defender “available” might make sense, especially since one or both of Anderson and Carter must be on the board when the Cardinals pick. — Josh Weinfuss
Indianapolis Colts, No. 4 overall
What is your early hunch about the likelihood of the Colts a) staying home at number 4 and picking QB, b) trading to get QB, or c) going the other way?
This is a tricky question because we don’t yet have detailed information on the Colts’ assessment of available quarterbacks, making it hard to know how motivated they might be to make a move. But in the end, I’m leaning towards the Colts staying in fourth place overall.
General manager Chris Ballard has not made any first-round trades in the previous six draft picks he has overseen. In fact, he is much more likely to trade down. Remaining in 4th place, the Colts will still be one of the best QBs – in a group that includes the team from Alabama. Bryce YoungCJ Stroud of Ohio, Kentucky Will Lewis and Florida Anthony Richardson – while protecting other choices needed to create a new QB. — Steven Holder
Seattle Seahawks, 5th and 20th overall
Seattle is one of five teams to receive two first-round picks. How will his perfect Round 1 play out in April?
Let’s start with the assumption that the Seahawks will either sign quarterback Jeno Smith to a multi-year contract or tag him with a franchise before the March 7 deadline, allowing them to dedicate their first-round draft capital to improving their front seven defense. If they like Carter and Anderson as much as the draft analysts do, then the ideal scenario would be to trade the Bears the first overall pick for a team in need of quarterbacks that is not currently in the top five, which would increase the chances of that three QBs will be selected. top four and leaving at least one of those two defenders number 5.
The 20th overall pick comes just in the part of the first round where Seattle might be tempted to trade back, though it may be less urgent as the Seahawks already have three picks on day two. Ideally, the best player on their board at the moment will fit whatever remaining needs they have. This could be a fullback, winger, inside linebacker, or center. — Brady Henderson
Detroit Lions, 6th and 18th overall
Will the Lions use both of their first-round picks defensively, and which positions need help the most?
After being bottom of the league in most defensive stats for the second year in a row, it makes sense for the Lions front office to address this aspect immediately. Detroit’s offense has proven it can thrive under top-five quarterback Jared Goff, but the Lions must step up their defense to build their first winning season since 2017. They passed over 6 yards per game. in 2022, and only two teams have more points (25.1 per game).
The Lions can use quarterback and fullback to take the next step in their rebuild, and the first round should offer multiple options for both positions in each of their pick slots. — Eric Woodyard
Las Vegas Raiders, 7th overall
If Las Vegas turns to the quarterback as a free agent, what will be the focus of that choice?
Well, it depends on whether general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels prefer necessity or the best player available. The veteran quarterback could have joined Las Vegas if the Raiders had upgraded their offensive line as well. This means that the game will have a plug and play offensive takeover.
Otherwise it’s all protection. I expect the Raiders to seriously consider adding another pass rusher or close guard with their No. 7 pick. Yes, you’ve heard it before, but the Raiders allowed 7.3 yards per pass attempt (25th) and managed just six interceptions (last place) in 2022. — Paul Gutierrez
Atlanta Falcons 8th overall
Are the Falcons confident enough in Desmond Ridder to pass the quarterback if one of their best players concedes at number 8?
Who can now say with complete certainty who is better, Lewis or Richardson, than Ridder, last year’s third-round pick? If Young or Stroud were somehow available at No. 8, it would certainly be worth talking about in the Atlanta draft room, but even then it would depend on what the Falcons did pre-draft on the spot. Atlanta enjoyed Ridder’s work ethic and progress as his rookie season progressed, and he threw in two touchdowns and zero interceptions in four games. Given the big needs on defense and possibly on the offensive line, the Falcons would likely forgo a quarterback here.
However, there’s one more thing to watch out for: can the Falcons convince the other team to trade to get the 8th pick if QB is there, giving them more capital to help rebuild the roster? — Michael Rothstein
Carolina Panthers, 9th overall
Can Carolina spend big money on a quarterback under free agency? And draft here?
No, spending a lot on a free agency quarterback is almost out of the question due to the team’s salary cap situation. The room under the Panthers’ cap is currently in the bottom half of the league. In all likelihood, they will sign a veteran who could be a bridge at the reserve price. And don’t be surprised if the Panthers trade for the top three or four picks to get the quarterback of their choice. General manager Scott Fitterer has been adamant in the past that the best long-term solution to building a championship-caliber lineup is a rookie quarterback contract. — David Newton
Philadelphia Eagles, 10th and 30th overall
The Eagles just won the Super Bowl, but a lot of players are choosing to be a free agent. What are their biggest off-season needs?
Eight of their 11 defensemen have pending agent releases since 2022, and three of those players are defensemen: Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Brandon Graham. Even if one or more of them gets oversubscribed, the front office gives high priority to the trenches and will want to refill that area.
Cornerback is another position to look out for, especially if James Bradbury signs elsewhere when free agency opens in mid-March. — Tim McManus