You may recall that we took a look back at the 2022-23 NFL Regular Season and in that post, we took a look at how all 32 teams had performed this season.
Well with the post season seeing the Kansas City Chiefs beating the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl, focus soon turned to Free Agency and of course, the forthcoming NFL Draft.
Well, from Thursday night through to Saturday, the three-days of NFL Draft took place and all 32 teams have now made their picks, as well as signing up a number of undrafted free agents to take a closer look at over the coming months.
But in this article, we are going to focus on which teams had a great draft, and which teams seemed to over-reach or fall short of their goals this year, for whatever reason.
We will also be taking a look at the new post-draft odds for some of the favourites to win the Super Bowl next year, with odds taken from bet365 Sport.
So let’s begin with a quick recap of how the draft went, before we take a look at the teams that hit, and those who we feel missed in this year’s draft.
2023 NFL Draft – Headlines
Unfounded Rumours – Young And Stroud Go 1+2 As Had Been Originally Predicted
In the week or so running up to the draft, there was plenty of talk that the Texans in particular may elect to take someone else other than CJ Stroud with the second pick of the draft.
Well, those rumours were proved to be false as after the Panthers took Alabama QB Bryce Young with the first pick of the draft, the Texans quickly nailed down their own franchise QB of the future by taking Stroud the Ohio State QB star.
Talk of the Texans trading down not only proved to be inaccurate, but farcical in terms of what happened next.
The Big Trade Up – Texans Move Back Up To Third Pick
The Arizona Cardinals had let it be known that they were willing to trade out of the number 3 pick for the right package.
And it just so happened that seconds after selecting Stroud, the Texans were on the phone to the Cardinals to agree a deal to land the very next pick in the draft.
To move back up from 12th in the draft, the Texans used some of their draft capital acquired from the DeShaun Watson trade with the Browns, giving the Cardinals the Texans 12th pick and 33rd pick in this year’s draft, plus a first and third round pick in 2024 for the 3rd pick.
Having made the trade, the question only was who would the Texans take on defense and it appeared to be likely to be edge rusher Will Anderson Jr, and indeed it was, and in doing so he became the second Alabama player to be drafted this year.
Colts Take Richardson Fourth But Levis Falls Into Second Round
There was little surprise when the Indianapolis Colts drafted a quarterback with the fourth pick in the draft, the question was, who would it be?
Many had stated that the Colts were hot on Kentucky QB Will Levis, but in the end it was Anthony Richardson of Florida that the Colts took with the fourth pick.
Richardson is not as finished a product as either Stroud or Young, but his potential upside is huge with off the charts physical traits, making him what the Colts staff called “a generational talent”.
However, it was a tough night for Will Levis who sat in the Green Room for the entire first round without hearing his name called.
The Kentucky QB star though was taken with the second pick of the second round, when the Tennessee Titans traded up to land the QB, who will now have a point to prove in the AFC South, especially against two teams who picked QB’s ahead of him in the draft (Texans & Colts).
The last player to have such a fall down the draft was Aaron Rodgers. The Titans will be hoping that Levis can have a career something like that which Rodgers has enjoyed!
2023 Draft – Winners & Losers
Winners – Top 3
- Philadelphia Eagles
What a draft for the Eagles. Not only did they pick up arguably the best player in this entire draft class in Jalen Carter, they then added another Georgia Bulldogs stud in Nolan Smith with their second first round pick and then another Bulldog in Kelee Ringo in the fifth. Add a solid QB pick up in Tanner McKee, solid picks on both lines and at safety. That is already an A+ draft before you factor in they picked up Lions RB D’Andre Swift (another Bulldog) for a late pick. A great Eagles team just got a whole lot better.
- Pittsburgh Steelers
GM Omar Khan’s first draft was one that he and the Steelers absolutely crushed. Their first two picks will be a massive help to key areas of the team in Broderick Jones (OT) and Joey Porter Jr.(CB), Benton and Herbig will give TJ Watt some fantastic support on the D-Line and Darnell Washington could be the next Rob Gronkowski given his incredible physical talents. There’s something in the water in Pennsylvania it seems!
- Tennessee Titans
This final place could have gone to a lot of teams, the Bengals, Colts, Texans, Giants, Bears and Ravens were all in with a shout, but I’ve gone for the Titans because, well, firstly I’m biased, and secondly they landed the best player in their position of greatest need without having to trade up (Skoronski) and then ended Will Levis’ slide picking the QB who was tipped to go in the top 5 by many pundits. The only knock here was a lack of top quality WR pick but Colton Dowell is a good 7th round pick up while Tyjae Spears will offer a great change-up option alongside Derrick Henry at RB.
Losers – Top 3
- Washington Commanders
The Commanders needed a big and impressive draft to make themselves relevant in the NFC East. They didn’t do that with a number of picks which seemed to be reaches and the lack of a linebacker, tight end and a potential future quarterback were telling on a team that needed to draft well to improve their chances in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions.
- New York Jets
The Jets had the best draft last year of any team, but after trading away a lot of capital to acquire Aaron Rodgers, they had a much less exciting draft this time around. Their best pick was Joe Tippman to come in to protect Rodgers at center or guard, but a lot of the other picks were either a stretch, or didn’t seem to fit with the team needs.
- Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins had just four picks in this draft after having their R1 pick taken away from them through a penalty from the NFL. Taking Cam Smith is a solid pick, but the Dolphins are already well-set at corner. The same could be said for Achane, who joins a crowded backfield for running backs. With no first rounder, it’s no surprise the Dolphins had a pretty mediocre draft.