INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends invited to the 2023 NFL Combine put on a show, making people adjust their mock drafts accordingly. Among the most impressive performers was Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.
Since the start of the Combine, fans have waited patiently to see the likes of Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Will Levis and back-to-back National Championship winner Stetson Bennett in action. On Saturday, fans finally got what they wanted.
Stroud and Bennett put on practically flawless performances during the throwing drills, while Anthony Richardson proved he may have indeed been created in a lab with his unnatural physical abilities. Will Levis made a few big throws himself, as did Richardson – especially throwing deep.
When the drills wrapped up, fellow Rambler Hunter Haas and I got together at the Combine to create our first complete first-round mock of the season. We collaborated our thoughts to best predict all heavily anticipated moves in the 2023 NFL Draft, from where Alabama star Bryce Young lands, to who the Raiders grab.
Before things get started, there’s something that should be remembered: There are a lot of different draft picks. We won’t agree on every one of those picks, and that’s ok.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind this is but the first variation of a mock subject to change. Things change quickly, and the landscape can look completely different in no time at all.
Onto the mock draft.
NFL 2023 Mock 1.0: What happens in the first round?
Bryce Young elected to sit out during Combine drills, and there’s a reason for that. At this point in time, the 21-year-old is nearly a lock to go first-overall. There is an important question, though; who will be the team to select him first overall?
We were able to come up with our own answer to that.
The Colts trade up to one for Young, Texans elect to team-build by selecting the potential best player in the draft in Jalen Carter, Panthers trade up for Will Levis, and Stroud makes his way to the Raiders at seven.
How about that, Raider Nation?
Other notable picks include Anthony Richardson to the Seahawks at nine, after Seattle traded down from five with Carolina, Texans going the non-QB route in the first round with Carter and Quentin Johnston, and Bijan Robinson going to the Eagles.
While on the subject of Bijan Robinson, it’s extremely likely he’s selected well before 30. We weren’t sure where, though, but Philadelphia makes sense anyway and serves as a good placeholder in the meantime.
Let’s talk more about Stroud, though.
Raiders get their quarterback by selecting C.J. Stroud at seven in this mock draft
When it comes to having the full package, Stroud fits the bill. The Ohio State phenom has great timing and awareness, in addition to touch and overall accuracy. Although he didn’t do it too much in college, Stroud also has the ability to take off and run.
During his press conference on Friday, Stroud said he believes he’s been the best player in college football for the past two years.
If the numbers hold any weight at all, he might be onto something.
In 2022, Stroud’s 41 passing touchdowns ranked second in the FBS behind only Heisman winner Caleb Williams, and his 177.6 passing efficiency topped all signal callers.
The season prior, in 2021, Stroud ranked third in passing touchdowns and second in efficiency, logging an efficiency of 186.6.
Ohio State’s quarterback will find a new home in April, and in this mock, that home is with the Raiders.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Darron Cummings