Ric's 2023 NFL Draft Round 1 Analysis
The 88th annual meeting of the NFL Draft in Kansas City lived up to the hype, as we saw numerous trades, quarterback mysteries revealed and plenty of surprises!
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We are now mere hours away from the National Football League Draft Round 2, in today's All Access Football newsletter, you can expect:
Draftnick Ric's 2023 NFL Draft Round 1 Analysis
Top 50 Players Available for Day Two
The second round will start at 7 p.m. ET, with the third round to follow.
Day 3 of the NFL draft, featuring Rounds 4-7, will begin Saturday at noon ET.
It was a bevy of red in attendance, as 125,000 people (mostly Chiefs fans) gathered in downtown Kansas City for the 2023 NFL Draft festivities. Surprisingly, we saw just three quarterbacks selected in the first round—the NFL had to roll out the cot for Will Levis in the green room. We expected to see a lot of offensive tackles off the board and we did (five), same with cornerbacks (four). Unexpected for many was the run on wide receivers, we saw four come off the board consecutively in picks 20 through 23. However, no team stood out more than the Philadelphia Eagles who came away with a pair of championship Bulldogs!
Below is the instant reaction for all 31 selections in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. If you are seeking in-depth analysis of 500+ prospects, plus year round coverage of the NFL Draft consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Rd1.No1. Carolina Panthers (via CHI) – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama: GM Scott Fitterer deserves some credit for surviving the storm, nabbing an experienced veteran HC in Frank Reich, trading up to secure the number one overall pick and then landing Young, the consensus top quarterback in this year’s draft. Kudos! Believe it or not, Young is the first ever player from Alabama to be chosen number one overall.
Rd1.No.2. Houston Texans – CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State: This selection will define the Houston franchise for the remainder of the decade. Houston GM Nick Caserio has stockpiled a strong young nucleus and Stroud will be in position to turn the Texans from pretenders into contenders in a hurry. The Buckeyes standout has demonstrated precision passing accuracy and anticipation during his time in Columbus.
Rd1.No3. Houston Texans (via ARZ) – Will Anderson Jr., OLB, Alabama: In a stunning turn of events, Houston trades up to make a second consecutive pick! After nabbing a franchise quarterback, the Texans also grab the top defensive player in the draft in Anderson. With his versatility, strength and ability to get after the quarterback, Anderson is a cornerstone type player.
Rd1.No.4. Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida: This move makes sense on so many levels. New HC Shane Steichen comes over from the Eagles where he coached Jalen Hurts. Not only does he get a quarterback with a similar skill-set in Richardson but he has a great mentor in place with Gardner Minshew, who followed the flock over from Philadelphia.
Rd1.No.5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois: Have the Seahawks just reconstructed ‘The Legion of Boom Part Deux?’ A feisty, tenacious corner who will fit in perfectly with last year’s rookie standout CB Tari Woolen. On the backend, Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs still roam the safety positions, plus they added utilityman Julius Love in free agency. This might be the best secondary in the league.
Rd1.No.6. Arizona Cardinals (via DET and LAR) – Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State: Arizona GM Monti Ossenfort was wheeling and dealing; trading down from three, to twelve and then back up to six, in order to nab Johnson. The often battered Kyler Murray has campaigned for a new right tackle and the new team brass was happy to oblige.
Rd1.No.7. Las Vegas Raiders – Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech: The Raiders are banking on Wilson to be ready in time for training camp after having a screw inserted into his foot, which prevented him from working out prior to the draft. Wilson owns great strength and bend—he can compensate for the lackluster returns Las Vegas has received from Chandler Jones and be a dominant force when lined up opposite of Maxx Crosby.
Rd1.No8. Atlanta Falcons – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: If you lack an elite quarterback, then try to provide him with as many weapons as possible. Atlanta has invested first round picks in wide receiver Drake London, tight end Kyle Pitts and now Robinson in the first round over the last three years. He can line up as a runner, receiver and help alleviate the pressure off Desmond Ridder.
Rd1.No.9 Philadelphia Eagles (via CHI and CAR) – Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia: It’s déjà vu all over again as Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman trades up for another Georgia defensive tackle. Carter, who many consider to be the top overall talent in the draft but slid due to off-field concerns, will pair with former Bulldogs teammate Jordan Davis. Philadelphia moved up one spot to ensure his services; this is the biggest risk/reward pick of the entire draft.
Rd1.No.10 Chicago Bears (via PHI and NO) – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee: A new starting right tackle was a wise investment for Chicago. In order for Justin Fields to take his game to the next level, he must have some better protection in the pocket. Wright is a polished plug-and-play product who will also help improve the run game.
Rd1.No.11 Tennessee Titans – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern: Despite Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry apparently both on the decline, Tennessee seems resigned to the duo for one last gash at it in 2023. The Titans offensive line has seen free agent defections and injuries all around, so don’t be surprised if Skoronski is the minted new left tackle.
Rd1.No.12 Detroit Lions (via CLE, HOU and ARZ) – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama: The fit is great, Gibbs is a darting runner who will make fans forget Jamaal Williams. However, one must wonder why Detroit shelled out $6M per year for David Montgomery in free agency? The Lions also have D’Andre Swift on the roster who does many similar things to Gibbs, granted not quite as well.
Rd1.No.13 Green Bay Packers (via NYJ) – Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa: Adding another big, strong, athletic body to the front seven will make the Packers defense more versatile. Van Ness has a non-stop motor that never runs out of gas. Being able to mix and match him with Rashan Gary could give opponents fits.
Rd1.No.14 Pittsburgh Steelers (via NE) – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia: The Steelers steal one from the Jets who had Jones pre-written on the draft card. However, Pittsburgh had an even more dire need along the offensive line and Jones possesses great upside. This helps in the development of Kenny Pickett who enters his first full season as the starter and significantly helps the ground game.
Rd1.No.15 New York Jets (via GB) – Will McDonald IV, OLB, Iowa State: While building around Aaron Rodgers was the initial plan, New York GM Joe Douglas improvised on the fly and found a new pass-rush weapon for HC Robert Saleh. McDonald IV lacks upper body strength but his burst and bend allow him to out-quick opposing lineman on the edge; Saleh will maximize his talents.
Rd1.No.16 Washington Commanders – Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State: The Commanders preferred a cornerback who would fit into their zone based defensive scheme. The frail-framed Forbes packs a big time punch, as he is physical, instinctual and a weapon with the ball in his hands when he’s going the other direction.
Rd1.No.17 New England Patriots (via PIT) – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon: Many had Gonzalez pegged for the top 10, New England did a masterful job of trading down and still landing an immediate impact player at a position of need. Look for the lengthy, fast and feisty Gonzalez to play a key role as CB1.
Rd1.No.18 Detroit Lions – Jack Campbell, ILB, Iowa: Few teams had Campbell pegged this high on their board but Detroit DNA is just different. Many NFL teams have strayed away from big, downhill thumping linebackers but Campbell fits what the Lions do and playing alongside Malcom Rodriguez provides a dangerous duo at inside linebacker.
Rd1.No.19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh: Entering the draft, Tampa Bay had a lot of needs. On defense, they needed help in the pass-rush and were seeking to upgrade the defensive tackle position. The undersized but incredibly athletic Kancey helps in both areas and lands on a team with a defensive-minded HC in Todd Bowles.
Rd1.No.20 Seattle Seahawks – Jaxson Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State: Last year wasn’t a fluke and the Seahawks are here to stay atop NFC contention. By injecting Smith-Njigba into the mix with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Seattle has assembled one of the more potent offenses in the NFL. Smith-Njigba can line up in multiple spots and be dynamic out of the slot.
Rd1.No.21 Los Angeles Chargers – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU: The Chargers stick to the script of drafting long, big-bodied wideouts. Another tall target to pair with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, quarterback Justin Herbert will have plenty of alley-oop options at his disposal. Many Bolt fans were clamoring for speedster Zay Flowers, so Johnson and Flowers will be compared for years to come.
Rd1.No.22 Baltimore Ravens – Zay Flowers, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Watch out for the revamped Ravens offensive attack. With the fearless Flowers, to go along with the energizer bunny in Odell Beckham Jr., newly minted Lamar Jackson will be getting back to his aerial ways. Flowers can play an array of roles as a gadget to complement OBJ who can stretch the field when paired with dangerous tight end Mark Andrews underneath.
Rd1.No.23 Minnesota Vikings – Jordan Addison, WR, USC: This is the official run on wideouts, as Addison makes it the fourth consecutive player chosen at the position. Minnesota needed to address the void created by the release of fan favorite Adam Thielen (Panthers). Replacing him with Addison, who demonstrates excellent quickness getting in and out of his routes, will provide Kirk Cousins with a bonafide WR2 option opposite of Justin Jefferson.
Rd1.No.24 New York Giants (via JAX) – Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland: Depth in the secondary was a concern entering the draft and GM Joe Schoen made sure to make it a top priority to address. Banks brings size, speed and the ability to play press man coverage, which DC Wink Martindale requires in his scheme—a puzzle piece that fits.
Rd1.No.25 Buffalo Bills (via NYG and JAX) – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah: The Bills saw an opportunity to obtain a luxury item for signal-caller Josh Allen and pounced. Kincaid is an inline receiving threat who will be hard to game plan for, especially in 12 personnel with Dawson Knox and as a red zone mismatch. Buffalo has won at least 10 games in four straight years without a ring to show for and hope this is the move that can finally put them over the top.
Rd1.No.26 Dallas Cowboys – Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan: Playing in the NFC East, Dallas knows they must commit to stopping the run. Last season, the team had to resort to signing the 31-year old Jonathan Hankins off the couch. Smith is a menacing, no-quit run-stuffer who can also help create even more rush lanes for linebacker Micah Parsons to run through.
Rd1.No.27 Jacksonville Jaguars (via BUF) – Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma: While he doesn’t possess prototype size, Harrison is highly athletic and does a nice job getting into the second level. Jacksonville continues their theme of building from the inside-out and adds to an offense which is loaded enough to keep up with any of the AFC young gunners.
Rd1.No.28 Cincinnati Bengals – Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson: This would appear to be tremendous value, the Bengals wasted no time turning in the card for Murphy who can help boost their pass-rush immediately. His long arms, strength and high motor provide all the ingredients necessary to compete for a starting job as a rookie.
Rd1.No.29 New Orleans Saints (via SF, MIA and DEN) – Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson: No stranger to adversity, Bresee has dealt with his share of injuries on the field and turmoil off it but has persevered through it all. New Orleans shores up their run defense but Bresee is also capable of creating pressure from the interior due to excellent strength and hand technique. He can get off the ball faster than Mardi Gras beads flying from a Bourbon Street balcony.
Rd1.No.30 Philadelphia Eagles – Nolan Smith, OLB, Georgia: Philadelphia dips into the Georgia well once again with Smith, who compares favorably to Haason Reddick coming out of college, in terms of his frame and hybrid position flexibility. Smith is an incredible field general capable of covering a tremendous amount of ground. A natural born leader, he now joins his Bulldogs teammates Carter, Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean on the Eagles defense. Buckle up!
Rd1.No.31 Kansas City Chiefs – Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Kansas State: The Chiefs set the crowd into a frenzy with the selection of local product Anudike-Uzomah, who played 120 miles down the road. A highly productive pass-rusher, Anudike-Uzomah makes great use of his hands and is relentless in pursuit. He went from walk-on to Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year during his time in Manhattan. Kansas City has done well stockpiling multiple bodies along the defensive line rotation that should help keep everyone fresh.
TOP 50 PLAYERS AVAILABLE FOR DAY TWO
1. CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
2. SS Brian Branch, Alabama
3. TE Michael, Mayer, Notre Dame
4. OG O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida
5. OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
6. TE Darnell Washington, Georgia
7. FS Antonio Johnson Texas A&M
8. C John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
9. TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
10. OLB BJ Ojulari, LSU
11. CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
12. C Joe Tippmann, Wisconsin
13. LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
14. QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
15. DE Keion White, Georgia Tech
16. LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas
17. SS Christopher Smith, Georgia
18. LB Daiyan Henley, Washington State
19. OT Tyler Steen, Alabama
20. WR Tank Dell, Houston
21. SS Sydney Brown, Illinois
22. WR Cedric Tillman, Tennessee
23. QB Will Levis, Kentucky
24. CB Cam Smith, South Carolina
25. OLB Derick Hall, Auburn
26. DE Mike Morris, Michigan
27. OG Cody Mauch, North Dakota State
28. WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
29. DT Tuli Tuipulotu, USC
30. WR Marvin Mims, Oklahoma
31. LB Marte Mapu, Sacramento State
32. CB DJ Turner, Michigan
33. WR Charlie Jones, Purdue
34. DT Siaki Ika, Baylor
35. RB Tyjae Spears, Tulane
36. TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa
37. OG Chandler Zavala, North Carolina State
38. CB Clark Phillips III, Utah
39. OT Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
40. WR Josh Downs, North Carolina
41. CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
42. DT Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin
43. CB Tyrique Stevenson, Miami
44. C Luke Wypler, Ohio State
45. OG Steve Avila, TCU
46. WR Jonathan Mingo, Mississippi
47. CB Riley Moss, Iowa
48. DE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern
49. CB Darius Rush, South Carolina
50. TE Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan
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The second round will start at 7 p.m. ET, with the third round to follow.
Day 3 of the NFL draft, featuring Rounds 4-7, will begin Saturday at noon ET.
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