“Carolina needs a franchise quarterback…It’s right here, right now for the Panthers, and Young is the best candidate for the pick.” – King on having Carolina take Alabama’s Bryce Young at No. 1
“(Mike) Vrabel will be a good coach for Stroud. That plus the fact that Ryan Tannehill would be able to give Stroud time to adjust to the pro game.” – King on having the Titans trade up with the Cardinals to take Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud at No. 3
“Would there be a team in the NFC South that’s better in in-prime offensive weaponry than Atlanta?” – King on having the Falcons take Texas RB Bijan Robinson at No. 8
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 24, 2023 – With the 2023 NFL Draft beginning this Thursday, Peter King unveils his first-round mock draft in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses Jalen Hurts’ contract extension with the Eagles, the current status of the Aaron Rodgers-Jets trade, and more.
This week, NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2023 NFL Draft includes Chris Simms’ 2023 mock draft, which will be available this afternoon on Chris Simms Unbuttoned, and Pro Football Talk’s continued team-by-team draft needs conversation. On Tuesday, the premier episode of My Main Man Michael Smith will extensively cover the draft, with guests Bryce Young, Josh Norris, and Charles Robinson; Pro Football Talk’s mock draft will also be available that day. On Wednesday, Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Football Happy Hour will look ahead to the impact draft picks will have on the fantasy football landscape next season (6 p.m. ET on Peacock).
For more NFL coverage, Peacock offers daily programming on the NBC Sports channel, including Pro Football Talk at 7 a.m. ET, The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, Brother from Another at 3 p.m. ET, plus Chris Simms Unbuttoned on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and the weekly Fantasy Football Happy Hour with Matthew Berry and The Peter King Podcast. To learn more about the NBC Sports on Peacock channel and how to sign up, click here.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
King on his mock draft: “Let me tell you about a GM with a pick in the top 10 for the second straight year. ‘Last year, I was 90 percent sure of our pick before the draft,’ he said. ‘This year, I’m 25 percent sure.’ There are a couple of reasons this draft is so in flux. Nine of the top 11 teams have a prime football person — coach or GM — in the seat of power for either the first or second year. So there’s not much of a book on many teams…Then there’s the quarterback mystery.”
KING’S 2023 FIRST ROUND MOCK DRAFT
|1) Carolina: Alabama QB Bryce Young||17) Pittsburgh: Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba|
|2) Houston: Texas Tech edge Tyree Wilson||18) Detroit: Maryland CB Deonte Banks|
|3) *Tennessee: Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud||19) Tampa Bay: Tennessee T Darnell Wright|
|4) Indianapolis: Kentucky QB Will Levis||20) Seattle: Boston College WR Zay Flowers|
|5) Seattle: Georgia DT Jalen Carter||21) LA Chargers: USC WR Jordan Addison|
|6) Detroit: Alabama edge Will Anderson||22) Baltimore: Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes|
|7) Las Vegas: Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon||23) Minnesota: Florida QB Anthony Richardson|
|8) Atlanta: Texas RB Bijan Robinson||24) Jacksonville: Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness|
|9) Chicago: Ohio State T Paris Johnson Jr.||25) NY Giants: Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer|
|10) Philadelphia: Georgia edge Nolan Smith||26) Dallas: Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.|
|11) *Arizona: Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez||27) Buffalo: North Carolina WR Josh Downs|
|12) Houston: Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker||28) Cincinnati: Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave|
|13) NY Jets: Georgia T Broderick Jones||29) New Orleans: Clemson DE Myles Murphy|
|14) New England: Northwestern T/G Peter Skoronski||30) Philadelphia: Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs|
|15) Green Bay: Utah TE Dalton Kincaid||31) Kansas City: Florida G O’Cyrus Torrence|
|16) Washington: Alabama S Brian Branch|
|* Projected trade between Tennessee and Arizona|
King on having Carolina take Young at No. 1: “I understand those who would say it’s a reach by the Panthers, because he’ll be playing in the land of the giants every week. But Carolina needs a franchise quarterback…It’s right here, right now for the Panthers, and Young is the best candidate for the pick. Carolina should attach the uber-positive and experienced Josh McCown, the new quarterbacks coach, to the hip of Young and get him ready to play opening day — a new day in the history of the Panthers.”
King on having Houston take Wilson at No. 2: “The Texans might see Wilson filling the mold of Nick Bosa, a difference-making quick-twitch rusher, more than Will Anderson. Coach DeMeco Ryans loved the impact of Bosa in San Francisco and knows that, aside from quarterback, the hugest hole on his team is at pass-rusher.”
King on Tennessee trading up with Arizona to select Stroud at No. 3: “(Mike) Vrabel will be a good coach for Stroud. That plus the fact that Ryan Tannehill would be able to give Stroud time to adjust to the pro game…I would like this deal for Tennessee, and for Arizona.”
King on having the Colts take Levis at No. 4: “Seems way too high for Levis, and I will not be stunned if Roger Goodell announces Anthony Richardson here. Levis’ IQ and football IQ are both strong, and that appeals to the Colts…the Colts, it seems, have to pick Levis or Richardson to get off the quarterback-a-year merry-go-round.”
King on having the Seahawks take Carter at No. 5: “One of the things I like about the way Seattle does business is the Seahawks view their business model as being designed to handle all kinds of players, the model citizens and those with checkered pasts…This is a bit of a roll of the dice. If it happens, you know (Seattle GM John) Schneider’s done a ton of homework on Carter.”
King on having the Raiders take Witherspoon at No. 7: “Witherspoon is a tenacious and versatile player, and that versatility drives him to the top of the cornerback class…He was the best tackler on Illinois’ defense in 2022. On a corner-needy defense, it’d be a surprise if Witherspoon wasn’t a day-one starter.”
King on having the Falcons take Robinson at No. 8: “If they take Robinson, here or lower, imagine the investment in young offensive weapons if this comes true…would there be a team in the NFC South that’s better in in-prime offensive weaponry than Atlanta?”
King on having the Texans take Hooker at No. 12: “Guess which AFC South team has been doing work on Hooker in the last week or so? A clue: It’s the team that’s passing on C.J. Stroud. Houston has a surplus of picks and no long-term quarterback, and the Texans simply couldn’t come out of having seven picks in the top 50 of the ’22 and ’23 drafts without one of them being a quarterback.”
King on having the Patriots take Skoronski at No. 14: “Skoronski could be a plug-and-play guard wherever he goes…If I’m New England, I’m thrilled Skoronski lasted this long, and I grab him to start a decade for the franchise somewhere on the line.”
King on having the Packers take Kincaid at No. 15: “When you’re in the middle of the first round, and the best position group of the entire draft is tight end, and you need a tight end to troll the middle of the field for a new quarterback who is a first-year NFL starter, and you’ve got a guy who started 35 college games and scored 35 touchdowns, well, I think this is a pretty good option for Jordan Love and the Packers.”
King on having the Steelers take Smith-Njigba at No. 17: “This is about where the receivers will start getting picked, and I’d be surprised if the Steelers weren’t seriously considering one to pair long-term with George Pickens.”
King on having the Seahawks take Flowers at No. 20: “His 200 catches for a toothless offensive team at BC, and the fact that he stayed at the program for four years despite having options elsewhere in the portal makes Flowers even more desirable.”
King on having the Ravens take Forbes at No. 22: “The only thing not to like is his rail-thin physique. But how about missing one of 37 college games with injury, returning six interceptions for touchdowns (an NCAA record), and having 30 interceptions in his past six seasons? You want this man on your team. The Ravens would figure out how to maximize his instinctive play.”
King on having the Vikings take Richardson at No. 23: “The math is not in (Kirk) Cousins’ favor. This is year six. He’ll have made $185 million as a Viking, and will be seeking $45 million-plus to re-sign after this season to be sure, guaranteed. Who would be surprised if the Vikings wanted to start fresh in 2024 if this is another one of those years?”
King on having the Giants take Mayer at No. 25: “In Mayer, New York hopes to find a consistent weapon for Daniel Jones — to pair with Darren Waller at first, then to shine when Waller, entering his age-31 season, is done…Daniel Jones could use a security blanket in the short and intermediate areas, and Waller and Mayer would give him two.”
King on having the Eagles take Gibbs at No. 30: “As good as (Bijan) Robinson was as a collegian, Gibbs has a few teams in this draft that liked him over Robinson for the NFL.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on Eagles QB Jalen Hurts’ $255 million contract extension: “I think the best things I can say about Hurts’ $255-million deal are that he has earned it, and that the Eagles will never regret it for one day…We all saw the Super Bowl. Hurts going toe to toe with Patrick Mahomes and earning the respect of any football fan who didn’t already think he was legit. Good deal for both sides.”
King on how Hurts’ contract affects Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: “If I’m Jackson, this deal is not good news…If the guy who has missed four games due to injury over two years (Hurts) signs for either 60- or 70-percent guaranteed, how can Jackson, who has missed 10 games due to injury over the past two years, expect a long-term deal fully guaranteed?”
King on the current state of the Aaron Rodgers/Jets trade: “I won’t be concerned until we get to the end of day 44 — Friday, when rounds two and three are staged, and when the Jets have two second-round picks that could be used in a potential deal for the Green Bay quarterback — and no deal has been done.”
King on the Rodgers/49ers rumors: “I don’t get the rumors of Rodgers to the Niners. At all. It sounds nonsensical to me. The Niners, with no picks in the top 60 a year ago, got zip out of their draft last year except Brock Purdy with the last pick of the draft. This year, they don’t pick till 99th. At some point, you’ve got to stop borrowing from the future year after year, and that time is now.”
King on the Broncos receiving corps: “I think it sounds like Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton aren’t going anywhere, unless a team blows Denver away with an offer for one of them. I don’t expect that to happen.”
Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s Rotoworld Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
- The NFL on NBC YouTube channel offers daily football content for free, with exclusive videos from Peter King Mike Florio, Chris Simms, and more. To access all of these videos and more, click here to subscribe
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.