Aaron Rodgers, Geno Smith, Dan Marino and Johnny Manziel. All of these quarterbacks waited to hear their name called at the NFL Draft far longer than they thought possible. In 2023, that quarterback was Kentucky Wildcats star Will Levis. Initially thought to be a top four quarterback, and thought by some to be the first overall pick, Levis sat in Union Station, the site of the NFL Draft, twiddling his thumbs, waiting for his future to start. The Will Levis slide on draft night had begun.
Will Levis' Long Night
Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud were the first two quarterbacks off the board, as the Panthers and Texans looked to get their franchise stars as early as possible. That's when things got interesting. The Texans traded back up to the third-overall pick to take Will Anderson Jr., starting a cavalcade of trades that completely changed the course of the evening. As those trades came in and teams began hopping up the board in order to snag their preferred player, Levis sat back as his mother gave him comforting hugs and his fellow draft night hopefuls continued to hear their names called.
At multiple times in the night, it appeared to be "Will Levis O'Clock." The Bucs appeared to be content with Baker Mayfield, while the Detroit Lions opted to wait and see if they could snag another QB later on in the draft, perhaps a Max Duggan or a Hendon Hooker.
As the NFL Draft's house band began to belt out Journey's "Don't Stop Believin," Will Levis sat back in his booth, surrounded by his family and girlfriend, Gia. The look on his face told the entire story. The Wildcats quarterback had been sitting around for three hours with nothing so much as a phone call from a GM. No one thought he'd be waiting this long to hear his name called, for his career to start, not after all the mock drafts, NFL Combine hype and all the hours he spent putting in work in Lexington, Kentucky.
One thing is for sure, wherever Will Levis ends up getting drafted, he won't soon forget all the teams that passed up on him as their quarterback.
MORE: 10 Times NFL Draft Experts Were So Wrong It Hurts
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.