After months of workouts, measurements, interviews, speculation, predictions, and whispers about players going up and down for inexplicable reasons, the top 1st round of Thursday night’s NFL Draft is what the experts drafted. It went roughly the way I thought it would go at the end of . Last season of college football.
The Carolina Panthers, who traded to the Chicago Bears for top pick in March, kicked things off by naming Alabama’s quarterback Bryce Young.
The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner is only 5ft 10 tall, but with impeccable scouting reports, excellent stats, and an exemplary off-field reputation, Young has a strong reputation in the early 2010s. Similar to Russell Wilson.
The Houston Texans may not draft a quarterback at all, or give up and try pickleball instead for a few years, despite rumors for weeks that they prefer other quarterbacks, but Ohio State of the university CJ Stroud with the second pick.
Stroud threw 85 touchdown passes in two seasons for the Buckeyes. He joins his NFL team, which has won as many games (11) in the past three seasons as Ohio State won last season.
The Texans then delivered the first surprise of the night by trading the No. 12 overall pick (acquired from the Cleveland Browns in a Deshawn Watson trade last year) for the No. 3 pick.But the player they chose wasn’t surprising: Alabama’s edge rusher Will Andersonwidely considered to be the best non-quarterback in the 2023 draft class.
rest of the top 10
After a handful of book selections, the draft settled into a familiar unpredictability.
The Indianapolis Colts, which have relied on past-the-best quarterbacks (Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan) and turnaround projects (Carson Wentz) since the abrupt retirement of Andrew Luck before the 2019 season, are looking for Florida players. chose. Anthony Richardson with the 4th pick. Richardson has the arm strength, athleticism, and perfect size to match Josh Allen, but has almost as much experience as an intern who puts copy toner in the office coffee machine (13 times in college). start).
The Seattle Seahawks had two first-round picks due to the Russell Wilson trade last year.Seahawks Name Illinois Cornerback Devon Witherspoon 5th overall, Ohio receiver Jackson Smith-Nigba 20th overall.
Witherspoon finished second in the Big 10 conference and has 14 suspended passes in 2022. Nigba Smith said he will catch 95 passes in 2021 but battled a hamstring injury last season. He also lost his leading role in the Buckeyes passing game to his underclassman Marvin Harrison Jr.
After trading down from the No. 3 pick to the No. 11 pick, the Arizona Cardinals moved back to the No. 6 pick and chose Ohio State’s offensive tackle. Paris Johnson Jr. He will defend an injury-ravaged offensive line in 2022.
Las Vegas Raiders Name Texas Tech Defensive Lineman Tyree Wilson with the 7th pick. Wilson’s arms are so long (about three feet) that when Scouting spreads his arms wide at his combine, half the press instinctively reaches for boarding passes.
Bijan Robinson This is the most dynamic running back prospect since Saquon Barkley, landing the Atlanta Falcons in 8th overall.Detroit Lions Later Selected Versatile Alabama Running Back Jarmer Gibbs 12th overall. Analytics hardliners are already ridiculing early prospect selection for talent-rich, short-career positions. The rest of us are free to enjoy things.
The Lions were two first-round picks in a 2021 Matthew Stafford trade, but later drafted a tough-guy linebacker Jack Campbell The Iowa native plays under tough guy head coach Dan Campbell. Some pairings feel predetermined.
The Philadelphia Eagles, who somehow always had two first-round picks, chose a pair of Georgia defensive linemen: Jalen Carterafter trading up from 10th to 9th overall, Nolan Smithwith the 30th pick.
Smith recorded just 12.5 career sacks for the Bulldogs—opposing quarterbacks often flattened before Smith arrived—but recorded a receiver-like 4.39-second record at 238 pounds at the Scout Combine. Executed a 40 yard dash.
Carter, once a front-runner, went uncontested in March on two misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing in a January car crash that killed two people, including a Georgia teammate. . Carter then weighed his 323 pounds too heavy and cramped during a workout on Georgia’s Pro Day, further aggravating the slide.
Carter and Smith are now the defending NFC champions, along with college teammates Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean.
Bears select Tennessee’s offensive lineman after trading down two additional picks Darnell Wright with the 10th pick. He shined in his 2021 at left tackle and in 2022 at right tackle. Unfortunately for Bears quarterback Justin Fields, Wright cannot play both positions at once.
Execution in receiver
The Jets, who were traded down from 13th to 15th overall as part of Aaron Rodgers’ trade with the Green Bay Packers, drafted an edge rusher. Will Macdonald IVrecorded 34 career sacks in Iowa.
The Jets were rumored to be looking for an offensive tackle to protect Rodgers, but the Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to No. 14 overall to pick the Georgia player. Broderick Jones, the last tackle on the board with a first-round grade from most analysts. Instead, the defender’s choice may not mark the end of Rogers and the Jets’ honeymoon, but the wedding party may be over.
The Smith-Njigba selection started an extra run at the receiver late in the first round.Los Angeles Chargers draft pick Quentin Johnson of Texas Christian, ranked 21st overall. The Baltimore Ravens, who agreed to a long-awaited $260 million peace deal with Lamar Jackson, added: zay flowers No. 22 pick from Boston University.Chosen by the Minnesota Vikings Jordan Addison of Southern California with the 23rd pick.
Johnson was nearly the only taller (6-foot-3, 208-pound), faster receiver in the 2023 class. Flowers is a big-play threat at his 5-foot-9, and his cut in that jump looks like a glitch in his game in the video. Addison weighs only 173 pounds, but in his last two seasons in college he caught 159 passes.
The Giants stopped the receiver run by trading with the Jacksonville Jaguars to move up and select a cornerback for Maryland — no doubt much to the chagrin of many fans Deonte Banks with the 24th pick. Banks has blistering speed and is considered a high prospect by many pundits, but lost much of his season in 2020 to the pandemic and most of 2021 to a shoulder injury.
In perhaps the most surprising development of the first round, Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, widely considered a prospect in the same tier as Young, Stroud and Richardson, was not drafted.
Levis can take solace in knowing that a quarterback’s career being eliminated in the first round means little. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, a second-round draft pick in 2020, started at the Super Bowl in February and reportedly signed a $250 million deal last week.