ESPN’s Todd McShay is one of the most respected draft analysts in the country, and his latest mock draft for the 2023 NFL Draft has caused quite a stir. In this article, we will break down McShay’s top five picks and evaluate his grades for each player, while also providing our own grades for each pick.
1. Indianapolis Colts (From Chicago Bears) – Bryce Young | QB | Alabama
McShay predicts that the Indianapolis Colts will trade up from the Chicago Bears to take the number one spot in the 2023 NFL draft. The Colts will give up their number four pick, a second-round pick, a fifth-rounder, and potentially next year’s first-round pick to secure their target, Bryce Young, a quarterback from Alabama.
Young is the current favorite with US sportbooks to be the first player off the board, and rightly so.
Bryce Young has a great feel in the pocket for pressure and always keeps his eyes downfield pic.twitter.com/NEvaiOJbYy
— Kendell Hollowell (@KHollowell_) February 16, 2023
We give this pick an A grade, as Young is arguably the best playmaker in the draft, having completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,328 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only five interceptions in 2022. The Colts need a franchise quarterback, and moving up to secure Young makes sense for both teams.
2. Houston Texans – CJ Stroud | QB | Ohio State
The Houston Texans have the second overall pick, and McShay predicts they will select CJ Stroud, a quarterback from Ohio State, which we give an A grade. Davis Mills is not the answer at QB for the Texans, and Stroud is the best option on the board.
CJ Stroud’s accuracy is something ELSE 😳
The Ohio State QB is currently in California prepping for the NFL Combine. pic.twitter.com/QnY1rq5909
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) February 7, 2023
At 6-foot-3 and 220 lbs, Stroud is a good size for an NFL QB, and in 2022, he completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,688 yards, 41 touchdowns, and only six interceptions, with a QBR of 88.9.
3. Arizona Cardinals – Will Anderson Jr. | LB | Alabama
Alabama OLB Will Anderson was in the backfield instantly on this play 😳 pic.twitter.com/NsPV9YHn3a
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) September 8, 2022
The Arizona Cardinals have the third overall pick, and McShay predicts they will take Will Anderson Jr., a linebacker from Alabama. Anderson was a force in 2021, recording 17.5 sacks, and in 2022, he got ten more, even scoring a pick-six. With 54 tackles for loss over the past two years, Anderson will be an instant difference-maker for the Cardinals, who lost JJ Watt to retirement.
4. Chicago Bears (From Indianapolis Colts) – Jalen Carter | DT | Georgia
I’m watching all of Jalen Carter’s playoff games, and this rep against Michigan last year is just absurd.
Wins with the arm-over as the 3-tech. Slippery to get past the RT and powers through the RB to get to the QB. That’s THREE blockers he beat on one play. Insane. #Bears pic.twitter.com/hXk6KpTivP
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) January 17, 2023
The fourth pick belongs to the Chicago Bears, who acquired it in the trade with the Colts. McShay predicts they will select Jalen Carter, a defensive lineman from Georgia, which we also grade as an A. Carter is arguably the best defensive player in the draft, but his injury concerns and questions about his work ethic and love for football may cause him to slip in the draft. At 6-foot-3 and 310 lbs, Carter has crazy speed and athleticism.
5. Seattle Seahawks – Tyree Wilson | DE | Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson lmfaoooooo pic.twitter.com/6963ZFT9K9
— Cory (@realcorykinnan) December 15, 2022
The fifth overall pick belongs to the Seattle Seahawks, and McShay predicts they will take Tyree Wilson, a defensive end from Texas Tech.
Seattle needs edge rushers, and Wilson has 14 sacks in his last two seasons at Texas Tech. At 6-foot-6 and 275 lbs, Wilson is a force on the edge, and McShay expects the Seahawks to tag Geno Smith, making QB less of a pressing issue for them.
Overall Grade: A+
Overall, we give McShay’s 2023 NFL mock draft an A+ grade, as we agree with every pick. We would have liked nothing more to disagree with at least one, but here we are.
Young, Stroud, Anderson, Carter, and Wilson are all excellent choices and should make an impact in the NFL. McShay’s evaluation of each player is spot on, and his reasoning for each pick is sound.
As we approach the 2023 NFL Draft in April, we look forward to seeing how these players will perform in the NFL. McShay’s mock draft provides a solid prediction of how the first round will play out, and we are excited to see if his predictions come to fruition.