• Bryce Young would thrive with Colts' supporting cast: Many expect Young to land with the Houston Texans, but Indianapolis offers a far more promising environment for him.
• Anthony Richardson a clear fit with the Ravens: Baltimore's quarterback situation is unclear, and if they do end up in need of a signal-caller, Richardson's dual-threat ability makes him a perfect match.
• PFF's 2023 NFL Draft big board: Click to read more about all of the top quarterback prospects in this year's draft.
Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins
Many teams have crossed the threshold into 2023 NFL Draft season, and so you’ve likely read plenty of mock drafts already to get an early look at what your favorite team could be up to this April. But among the many different scenarios a mock draft can bring, we wanted to identify the best-case scenarios for the most important and most coveted position: quarterback.
With a plethora of teams looking to switch it up and upgrade their quarterback depth charts this offseason, these are our favorite early landing spots for the top quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Apologies to any Houston Texans fans reading this, but with no current head coach, an incomplete offensive line and a clear lack of weapons in the passing game to lean on, they won’t be listed as an ideal spot on this list despite their clear need for a quarterback.
The Colts, however, could be an ideal spot. Yes, their offensive line disappointed this season, but there is reason to believe that group can bounce back with a good offseason and some potential changes. Young would have a great running back to lean on in Jonathan Taylor and a go-to passing weapon in Michael Pittman Jr. Along with Pittman, they have Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods from last year's draft, plus veteran tight end Mo Alie-Cox. Though the Colts could lose Parris Campbell in free agency, they could end up signing or drafting more passing weapons, too.
This is a team that had division title aspirations in 2022 and could revive those with Young under center.
The Raiders are in a much different position this offseason compared to where they were a year ago at this time. As a 10-7 playoff team that was bounced in the first round after the 2021 season, Las Vegas was looking to make moves that would take the team to the next level. That move ended up being the acquisition of wide receiver Davante Adams. However, not only did they fail to take the next step, they took major steps backward and will now have a quarterback opening after making it clear they plan to move on from quarterback Derek Carr.
In comes Levis, a quarterback with all the tools you could want from a young gunslinger. Levis wasn’t in the best situation to show his potential as a passer at Kentucky this past season due to limited weapons in the passing game. That won’t be a problem in Vegas with the likes of Adams, Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow and potentially a returning Mack Hollins or Keelan Cole. Levis will need some time to develop, but so will the rest of the Raiders roster (offensive line and defense) to get back to playoff aspirations. In the meantime, he can learn the ways of the pros with a good supporting cast.
If we’re being honest, the Panthers would be an ideal landing spot for any of these young quarterbacks. They’ll have a new head coach, which means a fresh start for Carolina at two leadership spots. Plus, they have an improving offensive line, good young running backs to lean on for now and a go-to playmaker in the passing game in D.J. Moore — not to mention one of the NFL's best young defenses that should be on the rise in the next few seasons.
The true question here is whether the promise the Panthers' offensive line showed in the second half of 2022 will continue into 2023. If they regress, that might be an issue for Stroud, whose passing grade under pressure dropped from 89.0 overall to 42.9 throughout 2022. However, he did end on a high note, posting an 82.6 passing grade under pressure versus the best defense he saw in the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff.
Whether Carolina's offensive line is well on its way or still needs a little more tweaking, Stroud’s fit with the Panthers would be an ideal one given he would have a good timeline to grow into his own and get the team back to the postseason.
This makes too much sense, right?
Signs seem to point to the Ravens and Lamar Jackson not being on the same page with a long-term contract. If they can’t get a deal done, expect Jackson to get the franchise tag. If he gets the tag, one of two scenarios could play out. Jackson could play under the tag, in which drafting a player like Richardson would be ideal since he could sit for at least a full year behind one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league — a skill set Richardson would love to emulate. Or Jackson could not play on the tag, forcing his way out, in which case Richardson could take over an offense that has been well-equipped to emphasize the rushing ability of a quarterback. Though Richardson finished 2022 with a passing grade of just 69.4, he earned an 85.1 rushing grade.
Greg Roman is out as offensive coordinator, but Baltimore seems like an excellent landing spot for Richardson, regardless of whether he’s starting next season.