By Joey Bachich
Kansas City, Missouri is hosting the 2023 NFL Draft, where 259 former collegiate athletes will be drafted by 32 National Football League teams. The event will take place over the course of three days, with seven rounds in the always exciting NFL draft. Fans and teams both come into the draft with high hopes of young athletes changing their franchise around with one pick, and this year is no different with four quarterbacks looking to be drafted in the first round. Movement has already been happening with the Carolina Panthers trading for the No. 1 overall pick from the Chicago Bears, who added more draft capital along with the No. 9 overall pick. It looks to be one of the most shocking first rounds in the history of the NFL draft, with many teams looking to trade up into the top five. With all the storylines pre draft, it should keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
Bryce Young and the quarterbacks
In the first round of this year's draft, there are four quarterbacks looking to be drafted early, even with all their limitations. Alabama star Bryce Young is scheduled to go number one to the Carolina Panthers. Many have questioned his size as an NFL quarterback, sitting at 5 feet 10 inches and around 195 pounds, and even with his eminence talent, the size disadvantage has turned some teams off. The Houston Texans, who pick second looked to be locked in on Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, but over the past week they have seemed to sour on the prospect. Stroud has been projected to go No.1, but over time has fallen to possibly number four to the Indianapolis Colts. Kentucky Wildcat Will Levis has the chance to go number two to the Texans, or near pick 19 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to his large arm, big build and elite athleticism. However, his decision making, and turnover number is something that has NFL general managers worrying about taking the 6 foot 3 inch player. Anthony Richardson is an intriguing prospect that does not have the best game film, but his physical attributes are incredible. He is 6 foot 4 inches, 235 pounds, runs like an NFL linebacker and has a cannon of an arm. Inaccuracy is the major question mark, but some NFL teams might take the risk to possibly unlock the next great physical freak.
What to Do With Jalen Carter
Jalen Carter on the field is considered a top two player in this draft class and would go in the top three of the draft if it was not for his off-field issues. Minutes before his NFL combine workouts, an arrest warrant was issued against Carter, who then had to leave entirely and returned later in the day after posting bond. This is because Carter was involved in the fatal car accident of his former Georgia teammate Devin Willock and team assistant Chandler LeCroy. He was charged with reckless driving and racing where he pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charges. To go on top of that, Carter was nine pounds overweight in his Georgia pro day and did not complete many of the athletic events. While his off the field issues clouds his on the field talent, do not expect Carter to fall out of the top ten. The Seattle Seahawks at pick No. 5 and the Chicago Bears at pick No. 9 are teams to keep an eye out for.
Cornerstones of the Cornerbacks
Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon are two elite cornerback prospects, and each have a chance to crack the top ten in the draft. Christian Gonzalez is hailing from the Ducks of Oregon, and with long arms, good size and great speed, he has the makings of a great outside corner. His only letdown is his occasional poor physicality, but that should not be anything to worry about with this fantastic player. Devon Witherspoon was one the best man defenders of college football this year. Illinois had a sensational year, and Witherspoon is a big reason for that. At 5 foot 11 inches and 185 pounds, he might not be the biggest corner, but he surely plays like it. He is a little grabby at times, which causes penalties, but something that he can be coached out of. Watch for the Detroit Lions with these two players at the No. 6 slot and then Las Vegas Raiders at No. 7, who are right there to pick up whoever is leftover.
This class is led by Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who has a case to be the number one player in this draft, along with all-around running back Jamir Gibbs from Alabama. Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the number one wide receiver who has the sky as his ceiling. Michael Mayer from Notre Dame and Utah’s Dalton Kincaid are two of the best tight end prospects we have seen in a few years. Wide receivers Zay Flowers (Boston College), Jordan Addison (USC) and Quentin Johnston (TCU) will also be in the mix in the first round as well.
Teams Looking to Move
The big move in the draft will be centered around the Arizona Cardinals and their No. 3 overall pick. The Cardinals have their quarterback in Kyler Murray, so trading back is a really good play by acquiring picks for the future and doing a slight rebuild over the next two seasons. The Las Vegas Raiders (pick No. 7) and possibly the Tennessee Titans are teams looking to move up and grab a quarterback at pick No. 3 and jump the Indianapolis Colts, who are looking to take a quarterback at pick No. 4.
Trades to Watch Out For
A sneaky move that could happen on day two is the trading of former first round pick, quarterback Trey Lance. The San Francisco 49ers have flirted with moving him before and this draft season might be the time to let Lance go. The 49ers might have found their future quarterback in Brock Purdy last season before an elbow injury that might cost him this entire 2023 season. The 49ers signed veteran Sam Darnold in the offseason, so keep an eye out for Lance to be moved on day two of the draft for some picks. The Minnesota Vikings might look to move up in the draft to get themselves a future quarterback. Watch for them to jump from pick No. 23 to No. 3 with an insane trade package sent to the Arizona Cardinals. Anthony Richardson might be the pick here if the Vikings move up.