The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone, and after a night of reflection, this was a great draft in terms of where players landed.
Overall, there weren't any massive reaches, but there were some head-scratching decisions based on where teams were on the board. Again, the picks in and of themselves were OK, but the context is essential, which we'll dive into below. Here are the picks and moves that didn't quite make sense.
Will Anderson Trade Package
Whenever you get what you believe is a franchise quarterback and cornerstone edge rusher, it's a win, no matter what. Five years from now, it could look like a massive steal. But at this moment, the Houston Texans' trade package to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 with the Arizona Cardinals feels a bit steep.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Texans traded this year's No. 12 and No. 33 picks, a 2024 first-round pick, and a 2024 third-round pick for this year's No. 3 and No. 105 picks.
1st in 2024
3rd in 2024
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 28, 2023
With the No. 3 overall selection, the Texans took Will Anderson Jr. He's a fantastic player. There's no denying it, but the trade compensation was steep. They gave up a top 33 selection this year and a first-round pick next year.
If you're the Texans, you're expecting to be competitive, of course, but this roster is still far away from competing. The Texans lack weapons for new quarterback C.J. Stroud, and the defense has numerous holes.
With that in mind, does it make sense to package a potential top-five pick in 2024 that could have been used on a wide receiver like Marvin Harrison Jr.?
It feels a bit steep right now.
Both Detroit Lions Picks
The Lions held the No. 6 overall pick heading into the draft but managed to trade back to No. 12 after the Seattle Seahawks took cornerback Devon Witherspoon a pick ahead of them.
In trading back to No. 12, they picked up No. 34 overall.
TRADE ALERT: Cardinals trading up to No. 6 with the Lions.
Lions receive picks 12 and 34. #NFLDraft
— NFL (@NFL) April 28, 2023
At No. 12, the Lions took running back Jahmyr Gibbs. As a player, Gibbs is fantastic and was worthy of a first-round selection. However, with D'Andre Swift and David Montgomery on the roster, it summons questions surrounding Swift's future with the team.
Also, looking at the draft board, the Lions passed up on numerous players like cornerback Christian Gonzalez who could've filled the void left by Jeff Okudah getting shipped to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Lions also picked at No. 18 overall and took former Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. Campbell is a fantastic tough-guy middle linebacker, but the value of his position is diminishing in the NFL. He won't be a guy to burst through the line, but he definitely profiles as a guy head coach Dan Campbell (same last name—coincidence?) would value.
Following the trade down, the Lions had a top pick in the second round which could've been used on Campbell. At 18, they had their pick of any wide receiver in the draft, any tight end, and other cornerback talent.
Perhaps the Lions use their No. 34 selection on Joey Porter Jr. which could help balance out the head-scratching, but right now, selecting a running back and a pure middle linebacker in the top-18 is questionable, despite the talent of the players.
Chargers Drafting Quentin Johnston Over Flowers, Addison
The Chargers had an excellent process in drafting a wide receiver, but we fear they may have taken the wrong one.
Johnston has the speed and measurables, but his game has some flaws. He tends to body catch too much and doesn't always play up to his height and size. He does join an excellent team with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to learn from, which will be ideal. Still, a player like Zay Flowers can play outside and inside and be a valuable weapon that Williams and Allen simply don't offer.
Not an incredibly terrible choice by any means, but it's a bit head-scratching to go with Johnston over the other two receivers, Flowers and Jordan Addison.
Will Levis Falling Out of Round 1
Rumored to go inside the top five for months now, Levis has officially fallen out of the first round. This was a bit of a stunner.
There are plenty of question marks when it comes to Levis, but he has incredible tools for a coaching staff to mold. Some have likened his upside to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, while others may view him as a Jay Cutler or Jake Locker type.
Levis is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, and can throw the ball a country mile. He played for Kentucky, which was arguably one of the worst supporting casts in the SEC, and the college production dipped massively from his junior to senior season.
As the draft went on, he felt like a prime candidate for a team to trade back into the first round and snag him to have the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, but they didn't.
He's one of three players remaining in the green room, and as you'll see in the video below, that's definitely not something he was excited about during the pre-draft process.
Oh no Will Levis pic.twitter.com/b42N7jecj7
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) April 28, 2023
Players like New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner have spoken out in support of Levis, which certainly has to raise his spirits at least a little bit.
Will Levis? God makes no mistakes. You will be great.
— D?ROY GARDNER (@iamSauceGardner) April 28, 2023
Fortunately for him, if he does return to the green room, it doesn't sound like he'll be waiting long.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, teams have been calling the Pittsburgh Steelers to trade up to No. 32 overall to snag the hulking signal caller.
The #Steelers? phone was already ringing for the No. 32 pick before Round 1 ended, per sources.
Multiple teams made calls to teams at the bottom of the first and were believed to be targeting Kentucky QB Will Levis. Now the bidding is underway for the first pick of Round 2.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 28, 2023
It's surprising no one took a chance on him at the back of the first round.
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