Early May is mock draft season. Mocks for the next year's draft class, of course. And now I've submitted mine. Of course, these are very preliminary guesses, but it is useful to try to identify the top-tier prospects heading into a college football season.
Looking back at my 2022 mock from May 2021, 11 prospects ultimately were picked in the first round of the 2022 draft. So the "guesses" can hit.
After somewhat of a "down" class in 2022, the 2023 group is loaded at marquee position, most namely quarterback. The receiver position looks stacked. Again.
The draft order below was determined using SportsLine's Super Bowl odds but in reverse order. We know folks are going to be very angry about why we have their team picking so high, but it's not our fault! These are your team's current odds of winning a Lombardi Trophy.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • Sr • 6'3" / 232 lbs
Levis feels like a quarterback who can eventually be the No. 1 overall pick. He's big, chiseled, has a rocket for an arm and can scramble. The Texans will probably be in the quarterback market in a big way next offseason.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 310 lbs
Carter was the best player on the Georgia defense in 2021. No joke. He's an elite athlete with long arms and outstanding pass-rush ability.
Round 1 - Pick 3
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 215 lbs
Stroud is a gamer with high-caliber arm talent and accuracy. He's the perfect quarterback to lead a new era in Lions football.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Zion Nelson OL
Miami (FL) • Jr • 6'5" / 316 lbs
Nelson isn't currently projected to go this high, but the first-round traits have flashed often in his Miami career. This pick assumes he takes a sizable step with his consistency in 2022.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 194 lbs
The Giants move on from Daniel Jones and land on Young, a super-poised, functionally athletic quarterback prospect.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 243 lbs
Anderson has looked like a future top 10 pick since his freshman season at Alabama. He'd be a massive get for the Bears here.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Miami (FL) • Soph • 6'4" / 224 lbs
Van Dyke has a cannon for an arm and a gunslinger mentality. The Panthers have to address quarterback early. No question about it.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Myles Murphy DE
Clemson • Jr • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Murphy was a gigantic recruit for Dabo Swinney who's been wildly productive in his first two seasons at Clemson.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Noah Sewell LB
Oregon • Soph
Sewell got the family genes in spades. He looks like the premier off-ball linebacker in the 2023 class.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Eli Ricks CB
Alabama • Jr • 6'2" / 190 lbs
Ricks made the unusual transfer from LSU to Alabama and is primed for an enormous 2022 campaign, thereby moving him into the top 10.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
Skoronski has filled in admirably for Rashawn Slater since he graduated at the left tackle spot. He plays with a nasty demeanor and has quality quicks for a big man.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Cam Smith DB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'0" / 188 lbs
Smith is a tall, disruptive SEC cornerback with high-end traits. The Raiders have to address the cornerback situation.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 13
Arik Gilbert WR
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 248 lbs
Gilbert is actually a tight end but moves like an oversized, super-freaky receiver. He has top half of the first round written all over him.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Ohio State • Jr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
The Eagles love investing in the offensive front and do so again with Johnson, one of the few blockers who has first-round hype right now.
Round 1 - Pick 15
LSU • Jr • 6'0" / 205 lbs
Boutee has been on the first-round radar for a season now, and the Vikings have to plan ahead at the receiver spot.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'4" / 251 lbs
Mayer gives me major Patriots vibes on film. He doesn't wear gloves, catches everything, and is a smooth operator in space.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Devin Leary QB
NC State • Jr • 6'1" / 215 lbs
Leary has the game-manager tools it feels like Mike McDaniel will gravitate toward next offseason.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'1" / 192 lbs
Joseph probably would've been a Day 2 pick had he entered the 2022 class. He should load the stat sheet on Northwestern's defense in 2022 and land in Round 1. The Cardinals need another playmaker next to Budda Baker in their secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Ohio State • Jr • 6'0" / 198 lbs
The Titans continue to build the receiver room with Smith-Njigba, who was often the best receiver on the field last season at Ohio State. Quite the feat.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Tennessee • Sr • 6'6" / 335 lbs
Wright is the oversized masher the Colts typically like on their offensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 21
TCU • Jr • 6'4" / 212 lbs
Johnston is a large, explosive wideout, precisely what the Ravens could use in their receiver room. He'd pair nicely with Rashod Bateman.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Pittsburgh • Jr • 6'0" / 175 lbs
The Bengals add more explosion to their receiver room with a bunch of their young weapons up for new contracts in the not-so-distant future.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 23
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'5" / 260 lbs
Foskey stood out on Notre Dame's defense in 2021. He's in for a big 2022 and has first-round traits and polish.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Antonio Johnson would give the Cowboys quality insurance and depth at the cornerback spot.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Zay Flowers WR
Boston College • Sr • 5'10" / 172 lbs
Flowers is a polished route runner and dynamo after the catch, and has deceptive long speed. He'd be a fun addition to Justin Herbert's offense.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 26
Louisville • Sr • 6'1" / 190 lbs
Surprise! Cunningham has springy athleticism and a live arm. With a big super senior season at Louisville, he could appear on the first-round radar.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 27
Washington • Jr • 6'4" / 241 lbs
Tupula-Fetui has battled injuries over the past few years at Washington. When healthy, he's incredibly powerful with serious explosion to the quarterback and quality hand work. The Dolphins have to add to their pass rush.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 28
Kansas State • Jr • 6'4" / 255 lbs
Anudike was a wrecking ball on the edge of the Kansas State defensive line in 2021, and his burst/bend talent will push him into the first round.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 232 lbs
Who knows what the future holds for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay? Richardson's upside is too tantalizing to pass on here.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Texas • Jr • 6'0" / 220 lbs
Robinson is a Saquon Barkley esque running back prospect, which vaults him into the first round.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Clemson • Jr • 6'3" / 230 lbs
At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds with serious range and energetic play style, Simpson feels like a future first-round linebacker on film who can also rush the passer.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Alabama • Sr • 6'1" / 206 lbs
The Bills should begin to plan ahead at the safety position and do so here with Battle.