The Super Bowl 57 matchup is set. For the 30 other NFL teams, it’s draft season.
The 49ers and Bengals were sent packing Sunday, officially joining the rest of the league in preparing for the offseason. They are, however, in two different situations.
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The 49ers are without a first-round draft pick, the last first-rounder of the Trey Lance trade package from 2021. They are also without their second-round pick, which was sent to the Panthers in exchange for running back Christian McCaffrey.
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The Bengals are coming off an AFC championship game loss to the Chiefs, but their window is still wide open. They’re also a team without too many flaws, and it’s easy to point them out. The offensive line has been a work in progress during the Joe Burrow era, and late-season injuries within the unit played a big role in ending their season.
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The NFL season is almost at its end — and draft season is starting to ramp up. Here’s how it looks after championship weekend:
NFL Draft order 2023
How the draft order stands after the NFL’s conference championship round:
|5||Seattle Seahawks (from DEN)||5-12|
|6||Detroit Lions (from LAR)||5-12|
|7||Las Vegas Raiders||6-11|
|10||Philadelphia Eagles (from NO)||7-10|
|12||Houston Texans (from CLE)||7-10|
|13||New York Jets||7-10|
|14||New England Patriots||8-9|
|15||Green Bay Packers||8-9|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8-9|
|21||Los Angeles Chargers||10-7|
|25||New York Giants||9-7-1|
|29||Denver Broncos (from SF via MIA)||13-4|
|30||Kansas City Chiefs||14-3|
— The Eagles hold the Saints’ first-round pick as part of a pick swap with New Orleans during the 2022 NFL Draft.
— The Texans hold the Browns’ first-round pick as part of the trade that sent Deshaun Watson to Cleveland.
— The Seahawks hold the Broncos’ first-round pick as part of the compensation in the Russell Wilson trade.
— The Lions hold the Rams’ first-round pick because of the Matthew Stafford trade.
— The Broncos traded pass-rusher Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins for a first-round pick prior to the 2022 NFL trade deadline. That pick formerly belonged to the 49ers, who traded it to Miami as part of the package to move up to draft Trey Lance in 2021.
— The Dolphins don’t have their own first-round pick after being sanctioned by the NFL for tampering violations regarding Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
NFL Draft 2023 top prospects
A trio of passers could steal the spotlight come April 27.
Alabama’s Bryce Young figures to be the top quarterback coming into the draft, and he’s joined by Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis as potential first-round passers to take the stage in Kansas City.
Young led the pack throughout the 2022 college football season and is considered to be one of the top two passers in the draft, alongside Stroud.
Levis’ standing is something of a mixed bag: Some consider him a first-round talent, while others believe he may fall out of the first round completely. Levis’ physical traits are legitimate, but questions about his processing and decision-making remain.
Outside of the QBs, several game-wrecking defenders should be top-10, if not top-five, selections. Alabama’s Will Anderson and Georgia’s Jalen Carter will jockey for first defensive player off the board in 2023. Clemson’s Myles Murphy could also find himself in that discussion.
Per TSN’s Vinnie Iyer, here are the top 10 prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft:
- Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
- Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
- C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
- Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
- Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
- Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
- Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
- Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
- Jordan Addison, WR, USC
- Trenton Simpson, WR, Clemson