NFL Draft 2023 – Recap

Ryan Bobb, Staff Writer

The NFL Draft is a very exciting day for players, franchises, and fans. Every analyst makes predictions but in reality, nobody knows what will happen which is why it’s such an exciting day even though it has so much uncertainty now. Let’s take a look at the first five picks.

Pick 1: The Carolina Panthers selected Alabama quarterback, Bryce Young, the player most experts expected them to take and a quarterback who should give them their quarterback of the future.

Pick 2: The Houston Texans took Ohio State quarterback Cj Stroud, who they hope can lead them to their first winning season since 2018.

Pick 3: After taking Stroud, Houston made a win-now move by trading up to pick three to take Alabama edge rusher, Will Anderson, arguably the best defensive player in the draft. 

Pick 4: The Indianapolis Colts took Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, a player who rose up draft boards after the end of the season with impressive workouts and a high ceiling.

Pick 5: The Seattle Seahawks added to a young secondary taking Illinois corner Devon Witherspoon, who should be a great addition on the other side of Tariq Woolen.

Biggest Steal

Even though the pick took place in the top ten, the biggest steal of the draft was at number nine when the Philadelphia Eagles took Jalen Carter from Georgia. This move by the Eagles came as they traded up one spot with the Chicago Bears to secure who many scouts believe is the best talent in the draft.

Biggest Drop

The biggest drop was, without a doubt, projected top 5 pick Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, who dropped all the way to round two. After a long night in the “green room” with other projected first round picks, Levis finally saw his name called at pick thirty-three by the Tennessee Titans which is a head scratching move with twenty three year old QB Malik Willis and veteran Ryan Tannehill.

Biggest Surprise 

In my opinion, the biggest surprise was the Detroit Lions taking Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs at pick number twelve. The pick made a bit more sense on the Saturday of the draft as they sent one of their current players, running back D’andre Swift, to the Eagles to make room for Gibbs. Adding Gibbs to the backfield after having just signed David Montgomery who was RB1 for the Bears last year.

Winners – Each year several teams are considered “winners” in the draft, though only time will tell if that is true. This year’s draft winners in my opinion were probably the Philadelphia Eagles who were seen to be losers going into the draft with many key pieces leaving but managed to fill those spots very well in the draft taking three Georgia Bulldogs Jalen Carter with the number nine pick and Nolan Smith with the number thirty pick and in the fourth round they selected Kelee RIngo.

Losers – The same thing can be said about the “losers” in the draft as sometimes a player no one saw coming turns out to be a star. However, when teams don’t draft well, it can cause them problems for years to come. This year’s losers, in my opinion, were the Green Bay Packers who after trading future hall of famer Aaron Rodgers to the Jets they waited until the second round to take weapons for young quarterback Jordan Love.

Washington filled some holes in their secondary by selecting cornerbacks with the eighteenth pick, Mississippi State’s Emmanuel Forbes, the all time leader in pick-sixes in college football,  and the forty-seventh pick, Illinois’ Jartavius Martin. They also picked up some help for the offensive line adding a center and a guard.

Baltimore’s biggest move from draft week was not during the draft at all as they signed their franchise quarterback, 2018 league MVP Lamar Jackson, on the day of the draft. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Jackson’s deal includes a no trade clause, a no franchise tag clause and a $72.5 million signing bonus with $185 million in guaranteed money. After securing their quarterback of the future they added weapons for Lamar by signing Super Bowl champion and three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and drafting Boston College receiver Zay Flowers. The Ravens also added a linebacker, edge rusher, and cornerback to bolster the defense.