Mock Draft Monday

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Colts 2023 NFL Mock Draft Monday: Jan. 23

Mock Draft Monday, our weekly roundup of experts' predictions for who the Colts will take in the NFL Draft, is back for 2023 this week with a focus on quarterbacks, as well as a few Day 2 selections. Check it out below. 

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Earlier this month, Colts general manager Chris Ballard was asked if he'd be "surprised" if he and his scouting department didn't land on taking a quarterback with the team's No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

"It's the fourth pick of the draft. We earned that," Ballard said. "I don't like earning it, but we did. I've said this before and I think history proves me right, I can take one. We can take one as an organization and y'all are going to celebrate it and say, 'We have got the savior for the Colts.' And then if he doesn't play well, 'Why did you take that guy?' You've got to be right. We've got to be right. We understand the magnitude of where we're at in the draft and we understand the importance of the position. To get one that actually you can win with and to be right is the most important thing. Not, if we take one or not – being right."

While the Colts' focus right now remains on hiring a head coach, draft evaluation season is quickly approaching. Senior Bowl practices will get underway in Mobile, Ala. next week, and other showcase games for draft prospects will carry plenty of importance in building the Colts' draft board. From there, the 2023 NFL Combine kicks off in Indianapolis on Feb. 28, and March and April will bring pro days and top 30 visits leading up to the Colts going on the clock the night of April 27 in Kansas City.

But we already have plenty of mock drafts to scroll through before that process begins in earnest. Here's our first look at who various experts predict the Colts will take in the 2023 NFL Draft:

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Selection (No. 4 overall): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Date of mock draft: January 23 (link)

Analysis: "After cycling through a bevy of veteran signal-callers, it is time for the Colts to find a young quarterback to build around."

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Selection (No. 4 overall): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News

Date of mock draft: January 23 (link)

Analysis: "The Colts' reward for an absolute QB mess between Matt Ryan, Nick Foles and Sam Ehlinger in the final abbreviated season under Frank Reich is being bad enough to get in position to stop recycling veteran QBs. They can land Stroud, a smart pocket passer with the right accuracy and intangibles to thrive as their true delayed franchise replacement for Andrew Luck."

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Selection (No. 4 overall): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: Natalie Miller, Draft Wire

Date of mock draft: January 21 (link)

Analysis: "Another quarterback goes off the board in the top five with Stroud, who has been one of the most productive passers in the country over the last two seasons. He'll be be a perfect fit in Indianapolis for a team that has been playing musical chairs at the quarterback position since the retirement of Andrew Luck. Stroud could bring the steadiness this team needs to find success in the playoffs with a loaded roster, as his accuracy and experience make him ready to go from the start."

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Selection (No. 1 overall, trade with Chicago Bears): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: James Fragoza, Pro Football Network

Date of mock draft: January 21 (link)

Analysis: "I'm no betting man, but if I was, I'd lay a pretty penny on the Bears trading out of the No. 1 overall selection. Bryce Young is the only surefire QB prospect in the class, and there are a plethora of teams that would cough up whatever it takes to secure the rights to draft him.

In this mock draft, that happens to be the Colts, who are desperate for a new face of the franchise. If Young held the same physical stature as Trevor Lawrence, we'd be talking about them in the same light."

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Selection (No. 4 overall): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

Date of mock draft: January 20 (link)

Analysis: "The tape for Levis is a roller-coaster ride. The strong-armed passer showed flashes of brilliance and the ability to avoid pressure and create; he also showed a penchant for turning the ball over (23 picks over his last two seasons). Colts GM Chris Ballard has always valued traits and upside. This pick just feels like a good gamble for Indianapolis."

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Selection (No. 4 overall): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Selection (No. 35 overall): Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU
Selection (No. 80 overall): Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State

Expert: Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com

Date of mock draft: January 20 (link)

Analysis: "The Colts would be fortunate if Stroud makes it down to the No. 4 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, so they may have to move up if they want one of the top-two quarterbacks. Obviously, Indianapolis needs a franchise quarterback and long-term starter. The Bears and Cardinals are definite trade-down candidates for the Colts."

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Selection (No. 1 overall, trade up with Chicago Bears): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: Luke Easterling, Draft Wire

Date of mock draft: January 19 (link)

Analysis: "Don't say it won't happen, because we've seen it way too many times before. I'm not sold on Levis, but it won't surprise me if a team like the Colts falls in love with his physical tools, toughness, and potential, looking past the flaws and inconsistencies in his play. Indy would have to give the Bears a massive haul to get up here, but to leapfrog a division rival that also needs a quarterback, they might just be willing."

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Selection (No. 1 overall, trade up with Chicago Bears): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Expert: Josh Edwards, CBS Sports

Date of mock draft: January 19 (link)

Analysis: "Rather than stay put and hope that their quarterback of choice falls to them at No. 4 overall, the Colts become aggressive and trade up to secure Young at No. 1 overall." _

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Selection (No. 1 overall, trade up with Chicago Bears): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire

Date of mock draft: January 19 (link)

Analysis: "In this mock draft, Stroud doesn't just leapfrog Young — the Indianapolis Colts trade their fourth and 35th picks in the 2023 draft, as well as their first-round pick in the 2024 draft, to move up to first overall to take Stroud, moving the Chicago Bears to fourth."

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Selection (No. 4 overall): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Expert: Chris Traposso, CBS Sports

Date of mock draft: January 18 (link)

Analysis: "Young is not a prototypical quarterback prospect, but it's time for the Colts to try an unconventional quarterback. Young's improvisation and poise are his greatest strengths."

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Selection (No. 1 overall, trade with Chicago Bears): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Expert: Dane Brugler, The Athletic

Date of mock draft: January 17 (link)

Analysis: "This trade makes sense for both sides. The Colts have a clear need at quarterback, with an owner and general manager who are motivated to get it right. Colts GM Chris Ballard, who was previously a scout in Chicago, is very familiar with Bears GM Ryan Poles — the two worked together for four years in the Chiefs' front office. This would mark the third time over the last 25 years that the Colts held the No. 1 pick. It worked out well the other two times: Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.

Bryce Young is a complete outlier from a size perspective and would be somewhat off-type for Ballard, but Young's instincts, vision and accuracy as a passer are the traits worth betting on at the position. It won't be a driving reason behind a trade up, but sniping Young ahead of division foe Houston would be an added benefit."

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Selection (No. 4 overall): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Expert: Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports

Date of mock draft: January 17 (link)

Analysis: "The Texans' loss is the Colts' gain, as the franchise finally lands some quarterback stability in the Heisman trophy winner. Young's size will turn off plenty, but he could be a massive upgrade right away in Indy."

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Selection (No. 1 overall, trade with Chicago Bears): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network

Date of mock draft: January 17 (link)

Analysis: "Every team will have their "favorite" at quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, and it just feels like Will Levis will be the Colts' guy — or at least near the top of their list. He's the prototype QB that Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard covet.

Whether they can correct his flaws is a different story, but Levis does have the high-level talent worth banking on. With the Texans sitting at second overall, however, the Colts will have to pay a hefty price."

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Selection (No. 2 overall, trade with Chicago Bears via Houston Texans): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: 33rd Team Staff

Date of mock draft: January 17 (link)

Analysis: "Chicago continues to build its stockpile of draft capital by moving down, and Indianapolis finally invests in a rookie quarterback after getting burned by the expensive Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan experiments over the past two years."

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Selection (No. 1 overall, trade with Chicago Bears): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

Date of mock draft: January 16 (link)

Analysis: "Levis, who definitely looks the part, was plagued by injuries and poor play all fall. That said, NFL teams love how he projects to the next level but he'll be a controversial talking point for the next six months. Either way, if owner Jim Irsay thinks Levis is the guy to turn things around in Indy, it's easy to imagine that he will spare no expense to go get him."

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Selection (No. 4 overall): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Selection (No. 35 overall): Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Selection (No. 80 overall): Rashad Torrence, S, Florida

Expert: Tankathon.com Staff

Date of mock draft: January 16 (link)

Check out photos of the players the experts have the Colts selecting in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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