Mel Kiper’s first round predictions for 31 picks

Who’s ready for another NFL draft with quarterback intrigue on top? We kind of lost that last year, with Kenny Pickett the only passer going in the first two rounds. Well, as you’ll see below in my first mock draft for the class of 2023, there’s bound to be a lot of buzz around these signal callers.

With two rounds of the NFL playoffs behind us, the order for the top 27 picks has been settled. It’s a little different this year, as the Dolphins were stripped of their first-round selection for sabotage violations, meaning there are only 31 picks in Round 1. The Bears have the No. 1 pick, while the Texans, Seahawks, Lions and Eagles have two first rounders. Could we see a trade to the top of the board?

Let’s dig into my early projections for the first round of April’s draft. I’m not going to project trades here – it’s still a little early to assess which teams can move up and what it will take to get there. As I’ve said before, this is just an exercise to show you all what I’m thinking three months into the draft, based on my Big Board rankings and what I’m hearing from league execs, scouts, and coaches. Everyone is now gearing up for the Senior Bowl next week and the combine in early March.

Here we go, starting with Chicago at number 1. I’m going to use ESPN’s Football Power Index to project pick numbers 28-31, and on that model, the Chiefs beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Watch the “SportsCenter Special: Mel Kiper’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0” at 5pm ET on ESPN2 on Wednesday, and you can see me and my friend Todd McShay go through all 31 picks.

Miller: All 20 numbers from the first round
Reid: How I see round 1 shaking
McShay’s ranking: Top 32 prospects

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