QBs to sleepers to Rodgers: We answer 10 pressing NFL draft questions

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The NFL will convene in Kansas City next week when Missouri’s most populous city hosts the 2023 NFL draft for the first time.

The Carolina Panthers are on the clock with the first overall pick. Carolina is expected to draft either Alabama quarterback Bryce Young or Ohio State quarterback  C.J. Stroud. The Houston Texans are likely to draft the best quarterback available on their draft board at No. 2.

While the first two selections are presumably quarterbacks, there’s plenty of uncertainty following the top two picks.

USA TODAY Sports tackles 10 of the biggest questions in advance of the 2023 NFL draft.

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How many quarterbacks will be selected in the first round of the draft?

As many as five quarterbacks could be drafted in Round 1, especially considering the Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders all have needs at the position.

Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson (Florida) are likely to be taken in the first round, but don’t be surprised if Will Levis (Kentucky) and Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) join the three.

What’s the deepest position group in this year’s draft?

This year’s draft class is considered deep at both edge rusher and defensive line. Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson could be the first defensive player drafted. Many scouts consider Anderson and Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter as the best two players in this year’s draft. Carter recently pleaded no contest to charges of racing and reckless driving in connection to a fatal car crash in January.

Clemson’s Myles Murphy, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson, Georgia’s Nolan Smith, Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey and Clemson’s Bryan Bresee are first-round talents along the defensive line and edge. USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu, LSU’s B.J. Ojulari and Florida’s Gervon Dexter are names to watch after Day 1.

Should the Arizona Cardinals trade out of the No.3 pick?

The Cardinals are rumored to be shopping the pick. Could they orchestrate a trade with the Colts, who select one spot after Arizona at No. 4? The Cardinals shouldn’t trade back further than four or else they might miss out on the opportunity of selecting the best defensive player in the draft.

Arizona lost its top two pass rushers this offseason in J.J. Watt (retirement) and Zach Allen (free agency). Will Anderson would immediately become the Cardinals’ best pass rusher if the franchise drafted him.

How many wide receivers are expected to be drafted in the first round?

Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, USC’s Jordan Addison, Boston College’s Zay Flowers, Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt and TCU’s Quentin Johnston are the wide receivers with the best chance to be drafted in the first round. There’s a drop-off after those five receivers so they could all be off the board after round one.

After trading the No. 1 overall pick, what’s the Chicago Bears’ biggest draft need?  

The Bears acquired wide receiver DJ Moore in their blockbuster trade with the Panthers and upgraded their linebacker position in free agency. (They also received the No. 9 pick and a second-rounder this year (No. 61 overall), along with a first- and second-rounder in 2024 in the trade.)

Now it’s time for the Bears to fortify their offensive and defensive lines through the draft as it’s the team’s two biggest areas of need. The Bears’ offense allowed 58 sacks last year, and Chicago’s defense had a league-worst 20 sacks in 2022.

Which team has the chance to benefit most from this year’s draft?

The Texans because they currently have 12 total draft picks, including picks two and 12. Houston has five picks in the top 75 in this year’s draft. Texans general manager Nick Caserio has a prime opportunity to inject the franchise with talent on both sides of the ball, including at quarterback.

Will the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets complete the Aaron Rodgers trade during the draft?

Which school will have the most players drafted this year?

Alabama is the likely candidate for most drafted players this year. Nick Saban has a factory in Tuscaloosa that annually produces NFL prospects. This year is no different. The Alabama Crimson Tide had 13 players invited to the 2023 NFL combine, the most of any school this year.

Who is a sleeper draft prospect on offense?

UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet is projected to be a day two, or, at worst, a day three selection. But Charbonnet has the ability to be a three-down NFL running back. He runs with good vision and power and usually falls forward after initial contact. Charbonnet led the nation in all-purpose yards per game (168.0) and led the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game (135.9).

Who is a sleeper draft prospect on defense?

South Carolina CB Darius Rush started his collegiate career as a wide receiver before converting to cornerback, so he has good ball skills. In Rush’s senior season, he tallied 38 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions. In 2022, he received the second-highest grade among SEC cornerbacks, per Pro Football Focus.

At 6-2, 198 pounds, Rush ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the 2023 combine. He has great size, length and speed for an NFL cornerback.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.

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