- Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.
Time for a new set of Round 1 predictions for the 2023 NFL draft. My first mock draft, back in January, was before the final four picks were set — this one has the complete 1-31 order. It also has three trades in the top five picks, including with the Bears at No. 1, who must weigh whether to stay put and get their choice of any prospect or move down.
Two months out from the draft, this mock is about pairing 2023 prospects with NFL teams based on a combination of my rankings — I have a new Big Board with updates at every position — along with pre-free-agency needs and what I’m hearing from people in the league whom I trust. The negotiation period of free agency begins Monday, March 13, and teams will fill holes through the open market — which means we’ll know much more about true draft needs soon. Just because a team adds a veteran quarterback over the next few weeks, it doesn’t mean that team won’t target a passer in Round 1.
The NFL combine begins this week, and we’ll have a big primer Thursday for the prospects to watch and those who could break records. As I’ve mentioned before, though, the things that happen off the field at the combine are just as important. This is where coaches and front-office executives can really get to know players.
As a reminder, there are only 31 picks this year because the Dolphins were stripped of their first-rounder for tampering violations. Check out the “SportsCenter Special: Mel Kiper’s NFL Mock Draft 2.0” at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPN2 and you can see me further explain my thought process for each pick. OK, here we go with a trade right off the bat:
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