2023 NFL draft order: Top 18 picks set with Bears, Texans, Cardinals at the top

The order for the top 18 picks in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft is set, with the Chicago Bears picking No. 1 and the Houston Texans picking No. 2. The Texans’ dramatic Week 18 victory allowed the Bears to sneak into the top spot. Will Chicago keep this pick or trade back? Will the Texans choose their signal-caller of the future with their selection? The Bears and the Texans are followed by the Arizona Cardinals at No. 3.

Several teams have the opportunity to make big moves, as there have been six trades involving first-round picks. The Texans, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles are in line to have two first-round selections. This year’s Round 1 will have 31 picks as the Dolphins were stripped of their selection for tampering violations. The Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers also will not have a first-round selection. The Denver Broncos don’t own their own first-round selection but will have one from a trade that sent outside linebacker Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins in a deal that included the 49ers’ 2023 first-round pick.

The 2023 NFL draft will take place at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, with the first round slated for April 27. Rounds 2 and 3 will take place April 28, and Rounds 4 through 7 will be April 29. The draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and the ESPN App.

Check out the top 18 picks below, with Nos. 19-31 projected from the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI), which projects the order by simulating the rest of the season 10,000 times. (Team write-ups below have been updated from December)


1. Chicago Bears (3-14)

There will be plenty of quarterback-needy teams looking to trade up to the Bears’ No. 1 spot. A year after not having a first-round selection, Chicago could come away with multiple firsts by trading back, allowing general manager Ryan Poles to address needs at defensive line, wide receiver and offensive line. The Bears rank last in the NFL in sacks (20) and pressures (96). Bolstering their pass rush is priority No. 1, and if it doesn’t come by signing free agents, they could find that help atop the draft. — Courtney Cronin

2. Houston Texans (3-13-1)

The Texans’ rebuild is stuck in the mud. Why? Because they’re searching for their quarterback of the future and –with Lovie Smith fired after Sunday’s game — a new head coach. There was optimism before the season that Davis Mills could become the long-term answer, but he was benched after 10 starts (and 11 interceptions). After backup Kyle Allen struggled through two starts, however, Mills returned as the starter in Week 14. Going into this draft, Houston must find its franchise signal-caller to give its rebuild any legitimacy. — DJ Bien-Aime

3. Arizona Cardinals (4-13)

First, it’ll depend on who’s making the pick — will it be longtime general manager Steve Keim or someone else? Keim has been the GM since 2013. Arizona will have a plethora of needs in the first round, and sticking to its “best player available” philosophy hasn’t always benefited the team. This draft will be about making quarterback Kyler Murray happy and giving him more options to work with, whether that’s an offensive lineman or an offensive weapon. If that doesn’t happen, the discord behind closed doors will continue, especially as Murray gets set for rehab and surgery for the season-ending knee injury he suffered in Week 14. — Josh Weinfuss

4. Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1)

The Colts have drafted two quarterbacks in the first round since 1998: Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. With their need at the position as dire as ever, look for a heightened focus on the passers in this class. The Colts have other issues to sort out — such as who will be their coach going forward — but there is no debate about the critical situation at quarterback, given Matt Ryan’s age (37) and performance and the unproven status of Sam Ehlinger. — Stephen Holder

5. Seattle Seahawks (via 5-12 DEN)

The Russell Wilson trade has general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks sitting pretty. With the Broncos at 5-12, the first-round pick they owe Seattle lands at No. 5. Picking that early gives the Seahawks a rare chance at adding the impact defensive lineman they badly need up front, but they’d also need a quarterback if they let Geno Smith walk in free agency. Seattle also owns Denver’s second-round pick, meaning it’s likely to have three top-40 picks. — Brady Henderson

6. Detroit Lions (via 5-12 LAR)

Ever since he arrived in Detroit, general manager Brad Holmes has shown an eye for draft talent, picking gems such as fourth-round receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is off to a record-breaking start to his career. There will be tough decisions made in this draft, and the Lions likely will have to address quarterback and cornerback. Yes, Jared Goff is having a great season, but Detroit needs to secure young talent at that spot, and the secondary is its largest need on defense. — Eric Woodyard

7. Las Vegas Raiders (6-11)

A year after waiting until the third round to make its first selection — general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels dealt first- and second-round picks to Green Bay for wideout Davante Adams — Las Vegas again needs to get a little bit of everything. Little has changed, even with stars such as Adams, running back Josh Jacobs and defensive end Maxx Crosby on the roster. The wild card, though, is quarterback. Because even though Derek Carr signed a three-year, $121.5 million extension with a no-trade clause last offseason, the Raiders have a three-day window after the season to move on with a relatively cheap $5.6 million salary-cap hit. — Paul Gutierrez

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

Although some of this will depend on how rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder managed the last four games of the regular season, the Falcons might be well-served by focusing on defensive linemen and edge rushers in the draft regardless. They once again are toward the bottom of the league in sacks and pressure percentage, and the team desperately needs to find players to surround star tackle Grady Jarrett. It was Atlanta’s biggest need last year — and remains its biggest need this offseason, only this time there is cap money to play with. — Michael Rothstein

9. Carolina Panthers (7-10)

The Panthers haven’t taken a quarterback in the first round since Cam Newton with the top pick in 2011. With a good shot at a top-10 pick, it is time to end the quarterback turmoil the team has been in since midway through the 2018 season, when Newton suffered a shoulder injury. With the trade of running back Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers, general manager Scott Fitterer has positioned himself to have the picks to move up for a quarterback if necessary. — David Newton

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via 7-10 NO)

The 14-3 Eagles have a legit chance to make a deep run in the playoffs and still end up with two first-round picks. With Jalen Hurts solidifying his spot as the starting quarterback, Philadelphia can focus on the offensive line, defensive line and secondary. — Tim McManus

11. Tennessee Titans (7-10)

The Titans will be making draft selections without general manager Jon Robinson for the first time since 2015. This draft will be critical for a team stuck in a cycle of early playoff exits. Tennessee has invested heavily in the defense and gotten the desired results, but the offense lacks established dynamic playmakers outside of running back Derrick Henry, so this draft needs to yield players who can help put points on the board. — Turron Davenport

12. Houston Texans (via 7-10 CLE)

This pick is the Texans’ second of the draft and came from a trade with the Cleveland Browns to acquire quarterback Deshaun Watson. In the trade, the Texans received 2022, 2023 and 2024 first-round picks, plus a 2023 third-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick. — ESPN staff

13. New York Jets (7-10)

The Jets should be back to having a normal draft. After stockpiling picks in the past two drafts — they had six total selections in the top 36 — they have one pick in each of the top rounds. That makes it harder to fill needs, but they obviously don’t have as many as in previous years. This puts more pressure on general manager Joe Douglas and his scouting department, because the margin for error is slimmer than in the high-volume years, but it’s a sign of progress in their rebuild. — Rich Cimini

14. New England Patriots (8-9)

The Patriots are stocked with picks — an additional third-rounder from a 2022 draft-day trade with Carolina, an extra fourth-rounder from previously dealing running back Sony Michel to the Rams, and two additional sixth-rounders from trades involving Stephon Gilmore and Jarrett Stidham — which will provide plenty of flexibility to make trades. If an offensive tackle is in striking distance early, that would be a slam dunk. Shaky play at that position, due in part to a run of injuries, has contributed to the offense ranking 20th in the NFL in sacks taken per pass play. — Mike Reiss

15. Green Bay Packers (8-9)

Still waiting for that first-round receiver? It will be Year 21 without one, especially since it appears the Packers hit on second-rounder Christian Watson and fourth-rounder Romeo Doubs this year. Yet the Packers still need to get their quarterback — whether it’s Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love — help. That must come in the form of a tackle and a tight end. Who knows how much longer David Bakhtiari will hold up at left tackle? And it’s still not a given that Yosh Nijman is a long-term starter. At tight end, Robert Tonyan is their only playmaker, and he’s on an expiring contract. — Rob Demovsky

16. Washington Commanders (8-8-1)

The Commanders have eight selections in the draft, with three of those coming in the seventh round. They do not have a third-round pick because of the Carson Wentz trade but likely will get one for losing guard Brandon Scherff to free agency last offseason. They’re in a good position to address a few areas. Washington needs more depth at corner and could use its first pick there. Quarterback could be an option, depending how the position shakes out: Wentz has no guaranteed money and can be cut; Taylor Heinicke will be a free agent; and Sam Howell is an unknown. The Commanders need more quality interior offensive linemen and speed everywhere. — John Keim

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8)

The Steelers have several immediate positions of need they could fill after addressing the quarterback position in 2022. At the top of their wish list should be cornerback, offensive tackle, interior offensive line and defensive tackle. Since Pittsburgh parted ways with Joe Haden after last season, a true lockdown cornerback hasn’t emerged. And on the offensive line, 2021 fourth-round selection Dan Moore Jr. has been one of the most-penalized tackles and has allowed eight sacks. — Brooke Pryor

18. Detroit Lions (9-8)

This is the Lions’ second pick of the first round. Detroit’s No. 6 pick was acquired in the 2021 trade with the Rams that sent quarterback Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles. The Lions received a third-round pick in 2021 and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023. — ESPN staff

ESPN FPI’s projections for pick Nos. 19-31

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)
20. Seattle Seahawks (9-8)
21. New York Giants (9-7-1)
22. Los Angeles Chargers (10-7)
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)
24. Baltimore Ravens (10-7)
25. Minnesota Vikings (13-4)
26. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
27. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
28. Denver Broncos (via MIA/13-4 SF)
29. Buffalo Bills (13-3)
30. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)
31. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)

ESPN’s FPI projections are as of Jan. 8.

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