- Zierlein Mock 2.1
- Draft order & team needs
- Pro day schedule
With the 2022 NFL season officially in the books, the order for the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is set. Now the work of figuring out who will fill those slots takes center stage, with the NFL Scouting Combine just around the corner (February 28 to March 6 in Indianapolis). In the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl LVII, here’s the current order for Round 1 of the ’23 draft, which is scheduled to be held April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri, along with the top three needs for each team.
The order for picks 1-18 is determined by record, using strength of schedule as the first tiebreaker. The order for playoff teams (19-31) is determined by the results of postseason play.
NOTE: The NFL announced in August that the Miami Dolphins will forfeit their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick following an investigation into whether the team violated league policies pertaining to the integrity of the game.
Biggest needs: Edge, DL, OL
DP: If the Bears commit to building around Justin Fields, will they make upgrading the 23rd-ranked scoring offense the top priority in Round 1, after potentially trading down? Or will they focus on fixing a defense that allowed the most points in the league in 2022?
Biggest needs: QB, OL, DL
EE: Everyone knows that quarterback is a big need. But before new head coach DeMeco Ryans can improve this team, both sides of the line of scrimmage need fixing. And the Texans could use more weaponry for whoever ends up as the QB1 in 2023.
Biggest needs: OL, Edge, CB
DP: It’s going to a very interesting first year for GM Monti Ossenfort, with J.J. Watt now enjoying retirement and most of the Cardinals’ starting offensive line heading for free agency, along with the team’s top defensive lineman and cornerback.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR
EE: There are defensive needs that can’t go untouched. However, in addition to solving the quarterback quandary, the Colts must fortify the offensive line — despite it being an area they’ve already invested in heavily — and add help at wide receiver.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE DENVER BRONCOS
Broncos’ record: 5-12 (.481)
Seahawks’ biggest needs: Edge, DL, WR
DP: Geno Smith is expressing confidence that he will get a deal done with the Seahawks. For now, wide receiver replaces quarterback on the needs list with Seattle still in search of a young player to complement DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the Broncos’ needs.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
Rams’ record: 5-12 (.517)
Lions’ biggest needs: DB, DL, LB
DP: The message to the Lions this offseason should be pretty clear: Give Aaron Glenn more talent to work with on defense, at every level.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the Rams’ needs.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, DL
EE: Even if Derek Carr’s eventual replacement is a veteran, the Raiders would be wise to draft a developmental quarterback. That need might trump considerable voids in the trenches, as well as at linebacker and defensive back.
Biggest needs: Edge, WR, CB
DP: Perhaps an opportunity presents itself that leads the Falcons down a different path at quarterback, but at the moment, owner Arthur Blank seems to be in Desmond Ridder’s corner. Adding some juice off the edge on defense is still a must for this group.
Biggest needs: QB, CB, TE
DP: New head coach Frank Reich could use a major infusion of talent at tight end, where the Panthers have ranked either last or second to last in receiving yards in each of the past three seasons.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Saints’ record: 7-10 (.507)
Eagles’ biggest needs: DB, DL, RB
DP: Free agency figures to take a bite out of the Philadelphia defense, and one of the league’s top rushing attacks could be broken up, as well. Miles Sanders and Boston Scott are scheduled to hit the market.
NOTE: See Pick No. 29 for analysis of the Saints’ needs.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, LB
EE: It’s hard not to start with the offensive line as an area that could be shored up, but Mike Vrabel has stressed the team’s lack of speed on offense. We could see them dipping back into the draft for more receiver help, even after using picks on Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips a year ago.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE CLEVELAND BROWNS
Browns’ record: 7-10 (.524)
See Pick No. 2 for analysis of the Texans’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Browns’ needs.
Biggest needs: OL, S, QB
EE: There’s a strong case to be made that the Jets should fix the quarterback spot with a veteran, rather than via the draft. If they go the veteran QB route, the offensive line (tackle and center, to be specific) and safety appear to be the two biggest spots to hone in on.
Biggest needs: OT, WR, DB
EE: The list of positions the Patriots could stand to upgrade is surprisingly deep. But there are a few spots that rise above others, and it starts with offensive tackle. Isaiah Wynn is due to hit free agency, and Trent Brown is entering the final year of his deal. The secondary must receive support, too.
Biggest needs: S, TE, Edge
DP: With Adrian Amos’ contract due to void, Rudy Ford heading for free agency and former first-round pick Darnell Savage struggling to live up to his billing entering a contract year, Green Bay should be scouring the market for help at safety.
Biggest needs: CB, OL, LB
DP: Linebacker replaces quarterback on the needs list, with Cole Holcomb due to become a free agent. Ron Rivera is either creating a smokescreen at QB or he believes in Sam Howell.
Biggest needs: OL, CB, DL
EE: Head coach Mike Tomlin spent some of Senior Bowl week parked next to the OL-DL one-on-one drills, and that makes sense given the areas the Steelers should address this offseason. Cornerback is a need, too, but it appears the prospect pool is deeper at that position than it is on the offensive and defensive lines.
NOTE: See Pick No. 6 for analysis of the Lions’ needs.
Biggest needs: QB, DB, DL
DP: In addition to searching their next franchise quarterback, the Bucs could be looking to fill holes at all three levels of the defense when we reach April’s draft.
NOTE: See Pick No. 5 for analysis of the Seahawks’ needs.
Biggest needs: WR, DL, TE
EE: Justin Herbert is eligible for a contract extension this offseason, and the cost of securing the QB long-term might force the Chargers to make some tough cuts. There must be more playmakers for Herbert to take another step in his development, but the defensive front also can’t go untouched.
Biggest needs: WR, CB, Edge
EE: All the focus is on Lamar Jackson’s future, but there are likely going to be some moving parts on defense. The Ravens almost certainly will shed salary, which will hurt the depth at some positions. But the biggest need might be a reliable playmaker at receiver.
Biggest needs: CB, DL, WR
DP: While the Minnesota defense will be undergoing an overhaul to fit Brian Flores’ system, receiver is a spot to watch for the Vikings given the uncertainty about Adam Thielen’s future.
Biggest needs: DL, CB, OT
EE: The offense might need some help if certain free agents walk. But that was a top-10 unit last season, with the potential to be even better in 2023. So, the most pressing issues appear to be on defense, where adding interior pressure sources and more help on the back end figure to be priorities.
Biggest needs: WR, interior OL, DB
DP: Assuming the Giants are able to retain Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, receiver is the most glaring need on the roster. The team’s wide receivers were targeted in the end zone a league-low nine times in 2022, per Next Gen Stats.
Biggest needs: CB, WR, DL
DP: Other spots could find their way onto the Cowboys’ needs list depending on how free agency shakes out, but the corner position opposite Trevon Diggs must be addressed this offseason.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, LB
EE: The Bills could suffer significant losses in free agency, with tough calls to make on some of their higher-priced talents. Any such losses will play a big role in dictating their needs, but we think there’s an argument for more pass-catching talent to be added.
Biggest needs: DB, OT, TE
EE: The Bengals could lose safety Jessie Bates III in free agency, and cornerback appears to be a spot that needs bolstering. So, it won’t be a surprise if Cincinnati ends up drafting DBs early for the second year in a row. The blocking on the edges also needs to improve, both at tackle and at tight end.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS THROUGH THE MIAMI DOLPHINS AND DENVER BRONCOS
49ers’ record: 13-4 (.417)
Saints’ needs: QB, DL, RB
DP: Quarterback still leads the needs list for now. The interior offensive line and wide receiver could also become priorities depending on personnel decisions the team makes heading into free agency.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the 49ers, Dolphins and Broncos’ needs.
NOTE: See Pick No. 10 for analysis of the Eagles’ needs.
Biggest needs: OT, WR, Edge
EE: With a top-heavy roster, the Chiefs must use their collection of picks to fortify the depth at certain spots, which they achieved with their 2022 draft class. Needs could change, but right now, it appears that landing help at tackle and receiver will be front and center, and they’re always on the lookout for hard-charging pass rushers.
TEAMS CURRENTLY WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE HOUSTON TEXANS
Biggest needs: DT, WR, TE
EE: Retooling the defensive front around Myles Garrett should be atop the offseason needs list. Also, Cleveland figures to be on the hunt for pass-catching options, with a likely emphasis on speed and big-play ability.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICKS TO THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AND NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Broncos’ needs: OL, DL, RB
EE: When Sean Payton took over the Saints in 2006, he oversaw a complete overhaul of the offensive line from the season before. The changes up front in Denver might not be that drastic, but it’s possible we see at least a few new starters. The Broncos could use pass-rush help and a pass-catching back, too.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE DETROIT LIONS
Biggest needs: Edge, OL, DB
DP: The Rams will need better play inside the trenches if they’re going to bounce back from the worst season of the Sean McVay era.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS TO THE DENVER BRONCOS
Biggest needs: OL, CB, TE
EE: With limited draft capital this year, needs will be difficult to address, but it helps that the perceived positions of strength in the 2023 NFL Draft also appear to be somewhat in line with Miami’s biggest concerns.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Biggest needs: OL, DL, DB
DP: Trent Williams has quelled the retirement talk, but a big question at offensive tackle remains in San Francisco. Will the Niners be able to keep soon-to-be free agent Mike McGlinchey from walking this offseason?
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