2023 NFL Draft: Colts, Panthers headline five teams most likely to take a quarterback in the first round

2023 NFL Draft: Colts, Panthers headline five teams most likely to take a quarterback in the first round
2023 NFL Draft: Colts, Panthers headline five teams most likely to take a quarterback in the first round

The 2022 NFL Draft was lackluster in regards to the available quarterback talent. When Thursday night had concluded, Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett was the only quarterback off the board. The 2023 NFL Draft is setting up to be more active on the quarterback front. 

Here are five teams that could be the most aggressive in securing a top talent at the position:

1. Houston Texans

Houston's Week 18 victory over Indianapolis was potentially costly. Unless Chicago sticks and picks No. 1 overall, the Texans will not have its choice of quarterback prospect barring a trade up at No. 2 overall. If they do trade up, it will cost them. History suggests that not having the first choice of quarterback is not necessarily the end of the world. Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson were the second, third and fifth quarterbacks taken in their respective drafts. 

2. Carolina Panthers

Carolina currently holds the No. 9 overall selection. Their position in line is masked by the stench of desperation to find a quarterback. The team traded a second-round pick, one third-round pick, two fourth-round picks, one fifth-round pick and one sixth-round pick to build a quarterback room of Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Matt Corral. Two of the three could very well be gone before next season commences. 

If the Panthers miss out on Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Alabama's Bryce Young and Kentucky's Will Levis, then it would not be a surprise if they were to take a flier on Florida's Anthony Richardson. Richardson is a young quarterback with the physical traits to become best in show. However, he is still very much a work in progress in terms of processing, decision-making, etc.

3. Indianapolis Colts

Since general manager Chris Ballard was hired as general manager in 2017, the team has had a type at quarterback. Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan have started games for the AFC South franchise. Those players average 6-foot-4 inches, 232 pounds. Will they follow that pattern with a rookie quarterback or take Young if given the opportunity?

The veteran route has not worked out since Luck left them at the altar so it may be time to switch up the strategy and pick a rookie.

4. Atlanta Falcons

There was a narrative that Atlanta could punt on the pursuit of a new quarterback if Desmond Ridder proved himself worthy. The reality is that it was always going to be difficult for Ridder to make that magnitude of an impression in such a short period of time. He played a total of 262 snaps this season and left a lot of questions unanswered. 

With the No. 8 overall selection, the Falcons are in danger of missing out on all the top options. If they covet any of the quarterbacks, they will likely have to move up in order to secure him. General manager Terry Fontenot was hired in January 2021. Months later, the team selected Florida tight end Kyle Pitts instead of moving up to acquire a quarterback or selecting one of those available: Ohio State's Justin Fields and Alabama's Mac Jones. They did not allow themselves to pick out of desperation so there is no reason to believe they would this year either.

5. Seattle Seahawks

Has 33-year-old Geno Smith done enough to extend his stay in the Pacific Northwest? If so, would general manager John Schneider still consider adding a rookie at No. 5 overall to eventually take over? The Seahawks have a case as best 2022 rookie class so they have done a good job of building up the roster and could plug and play a rookie quarterback. It is likely in their best interest to add a quarterback now while they are in a position to do so. Pete Carroll took a roster in which many had low expectations only to guide the program to the No. 20 overall selection. They may not be in a position to pick this early again for awhile. 

Other teams to consider 

There are a half-dozen other teams that could conceivably consider a quarterback depending upon how they feel about the incumbent starter and how the free agency and trade markets play out. The Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, Washington Commanders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers fall into this category. Has Tom Brady taken his final snap in Tampa? The Buccaneers

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