Sam Farmer’s crystal ball: NFL mock draft 2.0 after big trade for top pick

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson throws a pass during an NFL pro day.
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson throws a pass during an NFL pro day on March 30 in Gainesville, Fla.
(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Everybody knows Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson can throw the deep ball.

But how about the curve ball?

This 2.0 version of the Los Angeles Times mock draft has the Carolina Panthers passing on more seasoned quarterback prospects Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, and instead using the No. 1 pick on a physical specimen who is light on experience but heavy on potential.

Richardson, who ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and set scouting combine position records for the vertical and broad jumps, has drawn favorable comparisons to Cam Newton, taken first overall by the Panthers in 2011.


The Panthers, who traded up to the top spot this year clearly with a quarterback in mind, would be going against the grain were they to select Richardson, so this is a bit of a fantasy scenario. Then again, isn’t that what mock drafts are all about?

A look at one way the opening round could unfold:

1. Carolina: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida — There are more polished and NFL-ready quarterbacks, but none can match Richardson’s athleticism and upside.

2. Houston: QB Bryce Young, Alabama — The Texans, ready to move on from Davis Mills, rebuild around a leader who’s ready to step in and play on opening day.

3. Arizona: Edge Will Anderson Jr., Alabama — J.J. Watt and Zach Allen are gone, and Jonathan Gannon is looking to shore up the NFL’s second-worst scoring defense.

4. Indianapolis: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State — The Colts run up to the podium in this scenario. Stroud has all the tools to be successful right off the bat.


5. Seattle: QB Will Levis, Kentucky — Yes, the Seahawks have Geno Smith in the near term. But they’re also not bluffing when it comes to their interest in this quarterback class.

Now that the Carolina Panthers have acquired the No. 1 pick from the Bears, a look at which teams might select the top four quarterbacks in the draft.

March 13, 2023

6. Detroit: CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois — Head fake by the Lions. They wait for an edge rusher and instead take the first corner off the board.

7. Las Vegas: Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech — If Witherspoon is gone, Raiders go for youth and explosiveness on the edge. Wilson can learn at the elbow of Chandler Jones.

8. Atlanta: DT Jalen Carter, Geogia — Even with off-the-field red flags, Carter would be a steal this low. Local star could roll right into an impactful NFL gig.

9. Chicago: DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson — Bears have the worst defensive line in football, and they need a right offensive tackle. So they’re focused on rebuilding in the trenches.


10. Philadelphia: Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson — Eagles are always going to default to improving their lines. Defensive tackle here, or an edge who can eventually replace 35-year-old Brandon Graham.

11. Tennessee: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern — Titans need a tackle to replace Taylor Lewan, and Skoronski is widely considered among the top two in this class.

12. Houston: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State — The Texans need help on their defensive line too, but this Buckeyes star is too tempting here.

Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba holds his hands out as a football heads toward him.
Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on March 4.
(Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

13. New York Jets: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia — The Jets are going to have a 39-year-old quarterback they need to protect. LT Duane Brown is going to be 38 and RT Mekhi Becton hasn’t played much for two seasons.

14. New England: DE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa — The Patriots might have more pressing needs at tackle, wide receiver and cornerback, the versatile Van Ness — who can play inside or outside — fits the Bill Belichick mold.


15. Green Bay: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame — Mayer, who caught more passes than any tight end in school history, would be an able replacement for Robert Tonyan.

16. Washington: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon — Gonzalez might not slip past the Raiders. The Commanders would quickly turn in their card on draft night should he get pushed down this far.

17. Pittsburgh: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State — Steelers certainly want to address their defense, and might do so with their first pick. But a tackle here makes sense too.

18. Detroit: Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia — Having addressed their need at corner with their first pick, the Lions circle back and bolster their defensive front.

19. Tampa Bay: OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee — The Buccaneers need to get a tackle, left or right. If they don’t get a left tackle they’ll move Tristan Wirfs from the right side to left.


20. Seattle: Edge Keion White, Georgia Tech — It’s not Pete Carroll’s style to take a corner here; Seahawks tend to find them later. Taking an edge rusher is on brand.

21. Chargers: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah — Chargers could go lots of directions — running back would be a fit too — but a tight end or receiver would be a nice gift for Justin Herbert.

Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid runs after catching a pass as Colorado safety Jeremy Mack Jr. pursues.
Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid, left, runs after catching a pass as Colorado safety Jeremy Mack Jr. pursues in the first half on Nov. 26, 2022, in Boulder, Colo.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

22. Baltimore: WR Jordan Addison, USC — With Marquise Brown in Arizona and Rashod Bateman coming back from injury, a young and versatile receiver would be a fit here.

23. Minnesota: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State — If he’s still on the board, Porter would be a good fit in the scheme of new defensive coordinator Brian Flores.


24. Jacksonville: DB Brian Branch, Alabama — Branch could play safety or corner, basically wherever he’s needed, for a defense that was fifth-worst against the pass last season.

25. New York Giants: C John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota — The Giants need help at center, and the best interior offensive lineman is still on the board in this scenario.

26. Dallas: WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee — The Cowboys are looking for a true No. 2 receiver to pair with CeeDee Lamb.

27. Buffalo: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College — Flowers put up big numbers at B.C. last season, and would get even better with Stefon Diggs as a route-running mentor.

Rams coach Sean McVay said Tuesday that there would be ‘no limitations’ on Matthew Stafford when workouts begin April 17. Injuries hampered the QB last season.

March 28, 2023

For those lamenting the loss of Drue Tranquill, Chargers coach Brandon Staley said he prefers Eric Kendricks, the NFL’s top linebacker over a decade.

March 27, 2023

28. Cincinnati: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina — Smith could be a replacement for Eli Apple, now a free agent.

29. New Orleans: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas — The Saints addressed their need for a quarterback by signing Derek Carr, and now can give Carr another Josh Jacobs.

30. Philadelphia: DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh — Javon Hargrave is gone and Fletcher Cox is in the sunset of his career. Great opportunity for Kancey.


31. Kansas City: DT Siaki Ika, Baylor — At 6-4 and 357 pounds, Ika would be a run-stopping mountain in the middle for the defending Super Bowl champions.