In this 2023 NFL mock draft, we have fun in our new series, Mocking the Mocks. We give each team its original pick, and take an all-time great quarterback.
Everybody loves NFL mock draft season.
Just kidding. Most people loathe it. It’s an exercise in time-wasting, because one team makes one trade and the whole thing is scrapped.
So this year, I’m doing a weekly series of NFL mock drafts. Wait, what? Hold on.
Instead of actually looking at the 2023 draft class and trying to play the role of Gridiron Nostradamus, I’m going to have fun.
In this series, every team will always have its original pick. For example, the Denver Broncos will draft No. 5 overall, and the Miami Dolphins didn’t tamper in a failed effort to land Tom Brady.
Thirty-two picks. Thirty-two clubs. No trades. No holds barred.
The first edition of this nonsensical series? What if every quarterback who ever played was thrown into a draft class, and every team was in dire need of a signal-caller?
Here’s how it would shake it, but with a couple of ground rules in mind:
- We’re drafting players based on how dominant they were in their respective eras. Nobody is arguing Sid Luckman is more physically gifted than Josh Allen.
- Super Bowls matter and stats. Individual awards also matter. Physical gifts are fun, but they mean far less without a damn good resumè.
Alright, let’s do it. Our 2023 NFL mock draft, if every quarterback who ever played the sport was available:
Finally, the Bears go from the team with the worst luck in quarterback history to landing Brady. Seven Super Bowl titles, 15 Pro Bowls, three First-Team All-Pro honors, three MVPs and five Super Bowl MVPs. Nobody ever did it better.
Montana was the greatest ever before Brady arrived. Four Super Bowls, four wins. Two MVPs. The 1980s All-Decade Team and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Also, the best clutch player to ever live.
Unitas going from the collegiate Cardinals to the professional ones. Known for his high-tops and slow gait, Unitas won three titles, was a 10-time Pro Bowler, five-time First-Team All-Pro and three-time MVP.
There’s a real argument for Baugh to be No. 1 overall. Despite playing in a heavily run-first era, Baugh threw 187 touchdown passes and completed an astounding 56.7 percent of his throws. Armed with today’s rules and style, he’d be unstoppable.
Manning goes back to where it ended. Between his time in Indianapolis and Denver, Manning won two Super Bowls, earned 14 Pro Bowl trips, was a five-time MVP and received seven First-Team All-Pro distinctions. Other than that, he was average.
Nobody ever did it better than Marino and walked away with jewelry. The 1983 first-round pick was an MVP, nine-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro. He also had the greatest season in quarterback history, throwing for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns in ’84.
This would be a tough sight for Broncos fans. Elway played in five Super Bowls, won two, took home Super Bowl MVP honors in his final game, earned the 1987 NFL MVP, and reached nine Pro Bowls.
Captain America goes to the Falcons. Despite his career being shortened by a Naval commitment, Staubach won two Super Bowls, was a Super Bowl MVP and played in six Pro Bowls. He was also incredibly mobile.
The Panthers do well for themselves, landing the second active quarterback on our list. Rodgers, a four-time MVP, gives Carolina the best signal-caller it’s ever had.
Young is incredibly overlooked historically. He was consecutive MVPs in 1992-93, and earned a Lombardi Trophy in ’94. He also was a three-time First-Team All-Pro during a golden age for quarterbacks.
Brees was a second-round pick who bounced from San Diego to New Orleans before becoming an all-time great. He was a 13-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl MVP and threw for 5,000 yards an absurd five times.
Well, this worked out nicely. The man who led Cleveland to 10 consecutive championships games between 1946-55 falls to the Browns at No. 12 overall.
Bradshaw won four Super Bowls with the Steelers and was named 1978 MVP. He also won two Super Bowl MVPs and was named to the 1970s All-Decade Team.
Mahomes is only six years into his career, but if he retired tonight, he’d reach the Hall of Fame. He’s already won an MVP — and likely to be one again this season — a Super Bowl MVP, a champion and a five-time Pro Bowler.
Nobody threw more interceptions, but he’s also the only player to ever capture three straight MVPs. Favre also reached 11 Pro Bowls and won it all in 1996.
Fouts is perhaps the greatest quarterback to never reach the Super Bowl. He set the all-time single-season passing mark in three straight years (1979-81) but was undone by a lousy defense.
If Fouts isn’t the greatest to never reach a Super Bowl, Moon certainly is. Moon was a nine-time Pro Bowler, the 1990 Offensive Player of the Year and twice led the league in passing.
Tittle might be the most underrated quarterback of all time. The man threw for 33 touchdowns in 1962, and followed that up with 36 touchdown tosses the following year. That’s like throwing 60 touchdowns today.
Luckman was a man before his time. In an age when it was near-impossible to complete half your passes, the Ivy Leaguer had a career rate of 51.8. Also, in 1943, he amassed 28 touchdown passes.
Starr is the quintessential winner. He led the Packers to five titles in seven seasons under coach Vince Lombardi, and earned MVP honors in 1966.
Kelly is remembered for four straight Super Bowl defeats, and that’s a shame. To get there four consecutive times is wild, and Kelly was a warrior, dealing with tons of pain throughout his career. A five-time Pro Bowler, Kelly would thrive in today’s pass-heavy schemes.
Aikman won three Super Bowls with Dallas and was arguably the most accurate quarterback of his day. A six-time Pro Bowler, Aikman would be a nice find at No. 22 for Miami.
The stories of Layne are legendary, both on and off the field. In that regard, he’d be great in New York. Layne won three titles, was a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. He also earned recognition on the 1950s All-Decade Team.
Roethlisberger to the Ravens. Pittsburgh fans just vomited everywhere. Big Ben won two Super Bowls and appeared in a third, was a six-time Pro Bowler and threw 418 touchdown passes. He’ll soon be in Canton.
The Dutchman stays in Los Angeles, but plays for the Chargers. A champion with both the Rams and Eagles, Van Brocklin was named MVP in his final season of 1960, and was a nine-time Pro Bowler over 12 seasons.
Namath’s knees didn’t allow for sustained greatness, but anybody who’s seen him throw the ball understands. He won a Super Bowl and was the game’s MVP. He was twice the American Football League’s Player of the Year, was a five-time Pro Bowler and once a First-Team All-Pro.
Tarkenton is remembered for his scrambling, but he could throw. When he retired, Tarkenton was the all-time leader in passing yardage with 47,003. He was also the 1975 MVP, a nine-time Pro Bowler and once a First-Team All-Pro.
Stabler finally got into the Hall of Fame via the Veteran’s Committee, an honor which took far too long for the Super Bowl champ and 1974 MVP. The Snake made the 1970s All-Decade Team as well, while earning four Pro Bowl berths.
Dawson had a distinguished career with the Chiefs, winning a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP, making it to seven Pro Bowls and twice being named a First-Team All-Pro.
Jorgensen gets forgotten far too often. He led the NFL in passing yards five times, was a five-time Pro Bowler and threw more than 30 touchdown passes twice in the 1960s. That was almost impossible.
Warner had perhaps the oddest career of any Hall of Famer, but he’s deserving. Warner won two MVPs, a Super Bowl and that game’s MVP award, was a four-time Pro Bowler and a two-time First-Team All-Pro.
Wilson is being dragged right now, but he’s had an excellent career. The former third-round pick has reached nine Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl and reached two of them. It’s unfair to argue Wilson isn’t an all-time talent.