With the conclusion of conference championship weekend, the NFL Draft order is almost completely set.
While the first 18 picks were already set at the end of the regular season, playoff teams are slotted in after they're eliminated. That means we already know where picks 1-29 will be in the first round, with only the last two picks to be decided in the Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
There will only be 31 selections in the first round this year as the Miami Dolphins were stripped of their pick due to a tampering violation.
The Bengals earned the 28th pick after they lost to the Chiefs in Sunday's AFC championship game. The 29th pick is now controlled by the New Orleans Saints, who got it in a deal that sent coach Sean Payton to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos received the pick from the Dolphins in a trade and the Dolphins acquired it from its original owner, the San Francisco 49ers, who lost to the Eagles on Sunday in the NFC title game.
The Saints are now back in the first round after they traded away their original pick (10th overall) to the Eagles in a series of pick swaps last year.
Bears will pick No. 1: What will they do?
The Texans were in line to secure the top pick, but played to win instead and finished the season with the league's second-worst record at 3-13-1. The Bears secured the top pick for the first time since 1947 thanks to a 3-14 campaign, setting up an intriguing dynamic at the top of the draft.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is largely projected as the top pick, while some experts point to Ohio State's C.J. Stroud and Kentucky's Will Levis. But the Bears don't need a quarterback. They're the rare team at the top of the draft with legitimate hope at the position in Justin Fields. The Bears struggled to find wins in 2022, but they did so as Fields emerged in his second season as one of the game's most dynamic threats behind center. The job belongs to Fields.
So now the Bears are in an enviable position. Do they take their pick of players that include potential game-changing defenders Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama) and Jalen Carter (Georgia). Or do they leverage their position to trade down with a QB-needy team like the Texans or the Colts to stockpile more draft capital?
There's plenty of intrigue to be found beyond the first pick, with multiple teams seeing trades pay off in premium draft selections. The Seahawks will pick fifth thanks to the now-lopsided trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. The Lions will select sixth thanks to sending Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams got a Vince Lombardi trophy, and the Lions will add another premium talent to a promising young roster. Win-win.
Let the draft speculation begin.
2023 NFL Draft order, first round
The Miami Dolphins' first-round pick is forfeited due to a tampering violation
1) Chicago Bears
2) Houston Texans
3) Arizona Cardinals
4) Indianapolis Colts
5) Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
6) Detroit Lions (via Rams)
7) Las Vegas Raiders
8) Atlanta Falcons
9) Carolina Panthers
10) Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints)
11) Tennessee Titans
12) Houston Texans (via Browns)
13) New York Jets
14) New England Patriots
15) Green Bay Packers
16) Washington Commanders
17) Pittsburgh Steelers
18) Detroit Lions
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20) Seattle Seahawks
21) Los Angeles Chargers
22) Baltimore Ravens
23) Minnesota Vikings
24) Jacksonville Jaguars
25) New York Giants
26) Dallas Cowboys
27) Buffalo Bills
28) Cincinnati Bengals
29) New Orleans Saints (via 49ers, by way of Broncos and Dolphins)